SUNDAY HOMILY: The Might of the Widow's Mite
We will only be truly happy if we are generous with God and generous with our neighbor. The virtue of generosity allows us to become fully human. By nature, we are made to love.
As he was sitting down he watched the people putting money into the treasury of the Temple. This Sunday's Gospel narrative teaches us a beautiful lesson about generosity. "A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents" (Mark 12: 42).
Generosity is a beautiful virtue. Not only are we to be generous with our financial resources, but we need to be generous in everything that we do.
Not too long ago my parents were telling me about a dear friend of theirs that passed away. The wake and the funeral were packed with people from all over the city.
For many years their friend used to help out the elderly home bound people of his neighborhood by cutting their lawns, shoveling their snow and doing their food shopping at no cost to the people that he was helping.
Locally, here in Corpus Christi, many stories are told about how the Fuedo brothers used to help the poor. For many years Ron and Joe ran a few very successful grocery stores. They were always helping people who could not afford to buy the necessary groceries that they needed for their homes.
People still remember how the telephone would ring just as Ron was finally able to sit down with his wife and children for Thanksgiving dinner after so many long hours dedicated to the grocery store. Without a complaint, he would excuse himself from the table, answer the call and then inform his wife that he would return shortly.
The call was from a person who did not have food for their Thanksgiving Day meal.
Ron would drive down to his grocery store which was located close to his home, open the door and go into the backroom with large paper bags which he generously filled with enough food for a hearty Thanksgiving dinner.
These stories all remind me about a nurse that took care of grandmother during the last years of her life.
My grandmother spent her last years in a nursing home because she was unable to care for herself. Alzheimer's completely sapped her joyful vitality and totally changed her personality.
Every time I went home to visit my parents, we would always spend time with my grandmother.
The visits were always very sad.
After my mother briefly reminded her as to whom we were, my grandmother would be delighted by our visits. The sadness was caused by what the illness had done to my grandmother.
The nurses at the nursing home were extraordinary women. In their own simple way, they would take care of every tiny detail of the patients. There were many other patients that were in worse shape than my grandmother. I often wondered how the nurses could be so cheerful and so loving in such a difficult environment.
One day, during one of our family visits, the nurse that always took care of my grandmother, told me that she could not wait to retire so that she could come back every day to the nursing home and spend her entire day with the patients at no charge to the home. She was so excited about the possibility of generously giving of herself without any restrictions.
My dear friends, we will only be truly happy if we are generous with God and generous with our neighbor.
The virtue of generosity allows us to become fully human. By nature, we are made to love.
I like to quote to you often the words that Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in his first encyclical letter. "Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it."
These words of Blessed Pope John Paul II are very beautiful. I remember reading his first encyclical as a young seminarian, and now almost twenty-five years as a Catholic priest, these words are so important to me. "Man cannot live without love." How beautiful indeed.
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood (Mark 12: 44).
This Sunday's Gospel narrative brings us to reflect upon even a deeper dimension of the virtue of generosity. The poor widow gave all that she had. Her gift was small, but her sacrifice was great.
There are two virtues that go deeper than the generosity.
The first deeper virtue is magnanimity.
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