The Prelate’s Sermon, October 10, 2021
Today, on the fifth Sunday of the Feast of the Holy Cross, our Scriptural reading is from the Gospel of St. Mark 12:35-44. One day, our Lord Jesus Christ is in the Temple, watching the crowd as they make their offerings and donate their alms into the treasury. He notices that while many rich people put in large sums, a widow presents just two small coins worth a penny. He calls His disciples and says to them, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had to live on.”
This is one of the rare passages where neither a miracle nor a formal teaching is recorded, yet it is a beautiful gem reflecting providential care. I would like to draw the following thoughts derived from this passage.
- This episode verifies a basic truth that in the presence of our heavenly Father we are all equal. Most often, having in mind physical, intellectual, material, or other differences, complaints might be raised that God is not just. Yet, as much as these visible inequalities might catch our attention, we should be aware that all of us are privileged to be His children. As such, nothing can deviate God’s care toward Creation in general, and without exception the carriers of His image, meaning us in particular.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy One, who sanctifies Creation with His holiness, humbly teaches us by His actions that praying in the Temple/church should be part of our normal life to express our gratitude to God the Creator and the Father. Being and behaving together in all aspects of life is a vital source of our existence as social beings. On another occasion, Jesus emphasizes the power of prayer even when two or three persons come together (Mt 18:20) and in humility commit themselves to the loving heavenly Father.
- As an Overseer par excellence, nothing can be hidden from the sight of the One who embellishes His creatures with the most essential sense of seeing. Not only lofty mountains but humble rational hearts and their insignificant actions are captured on the radar of His providential care, as the psalmist says, “the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken heart” (Ps 51:17).
- The evaluation done by Jesus is stunning when He said, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.” Yet it mirrors the Divine righteousness, for He adds, “all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had to live on.” This was not an exaggeration nor said in ignorance, but a true evaluation based first on a solid proportion of what the poor widow and the other contributors had, and second based on the imperative of both donors’ motivation, as Saint Paul says, “God loves a cheerful donor” (2 Cor 9:7).
- The verdict of our Lord encourages every individual not to waste our efforts by comparing ourselves with the circumstances of others, but to discover our own talents and ability, and accordingly to use them regardless of how modest they can be seen by us or others. After all, the caring God is the ultimate evaluator whose impartiality moderates and encourages all.
With this powerful message of our Lord let us all consciously bring our share in the design of Creation, with full conviction that the Giver of all bounties, far beyond our understanding, magnifies our tiniest good intentions and actions. Let us all joyfully seize the opportunity to give without hesitance, knowing that the only reason He expects us to give is for our advantage, to return with incredible interest and to make us partakers of His eternal blessings, to Whom is befitting glory and honor forever. Amen.