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Sunday Message 8th November 2009 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Saturday, November 7th 2009

THE WORD To give without counting the cost Mark 12:38-44
‘This poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury…’
Nine-year-old James, who lived in a family where there was abuse and neglect, was taken on a holiday by his school. He was given £5 to spend on whatever he liked. £1 a day for five days. Living in a main city he had never seen the sea nor had he any opportunities for some of the activities he experienced on that trip – horse-riding, camping, fishing, crab hunting! He loved them all.
When he went shopping he eyed a fishing rod eagerly. Each day he would go back and look at it. If he saved all his money by the end of the week he would be able to buy the rod.
The end of the week came and with it the last opportunity to shop. James went off to buy his rod, or so everyone thought. When he arrived back at the camp he produced his shopping. He had bought six small gifts, one for each of his brothers and sisters. He had given everything he had for the benefit of his younger siblings. The fishing rod he had wanted so much remained in the shop.
This total act of self-giving is like the story of the woman in today’s Gospel.  Jesus is observing the rich and the privileged. They like to draw attention to themselves. They take the seats of honour at banquets and put large sums of money into the treasury. These people give from their surplus wealth. It costs them nothing to do so. The poor widow, on the other hand, gives only two small coins but it is probably all she has, and she will have to go without as a result. Love is her only motivation.

LEARN

  • Privilege and status are not the door to eternal life
  • To give and not to count the cost is a gift  worth giving
  • There can be no love without generosity

DO 
 Think about how you might give a little bit more this week. It might be in terms of time rather than money- time to pray, time to listen, time to do something for someone that you have been putting off.

SAY
“Lord, open my heart in generosity to the people around me today and every day. Amen”

PRAY
So many aid workers and organisations at home and abroad give time and money to help those in need. Pray for them today. Thank God for them.

REFLECT
Jesus not only warns the people to guard against the behaviour they observe in the scribes and the rich, he is also showing them what it means to be a disciple. Discipleship is about service; it is about giving. In the first reading the woman, encouraged by Elijah, makes him some food with the only flour and oil that she has. And Elijah rewards her generously. Just as the widow in the Gospel story will be rewarded for her great generosity.
In the eyes of God it’s not how much we give that counts. It is rather how much it costs us. It is how great our love is.

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