Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 3 novembre 2021

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B   dans Catéchèse

This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others

The widow’s offering, also known as the widow’s offering, is an episode from Jesus’ ministry reported in the gospel according to Mark and the gospel according to Luke. The episode is set in the Temple in Jerusalem. After Jesus pronounces an invective against the scribes, who loved to be revered and devoured « the houses of widows », a poor widow arrives and throws into the temple treasury two coins that were all she had.

Jesus says that even though the offering seemed modest, it was actually greater than those of all the others, because the others had offered the superfluous, while the widow had offered everything she had to live on. Coming out of the temple, Jesus foretells its destruction. According to the biblical scholar Alberto Maggi, Jesus’ words may seem at first sight to be an appreciation of the widow’s faith and religious devotion, but they are instead a criticism of the Jewish religious system of the time, based on temple worship.

In ancient Israel, widows, along with orphans, were considered the weakest people because they had no protection; therefore Deuteronomy stated that a portion of the temple offerings should be used to assist widows and orphans. By the time of Jesus, however, the temple had become an institution that exploited the poor and the weak, so that instead of being helped by the temple offerings, a poor widow was forced by the pressure of society and tradition to offer to the temple all she had to live on. The announcement of the future destruction of the temple sanctions its condemnation : the structure, which has become an instrument of oppression, is now irredeemable and is destined to disappear forever.

From the Gospel according to Mark

38 In his teaching he said, « Beware of the scribes, who are anxious to go about in fine clothes and who love salutations in the public squares, 39 and places of honor in the synagogues, and places of honor at dinners. 40 They devour the possessions of widows, and for the sake of appearance make long prayers : they will be judged all the more severely. »

Jesus sat in the Temple in front of the treasury, watching how the crowds put their money in. Many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, « Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 For they all took from their abundance, but she took from her poverty; she put in all that she had, all that she had to live on. (Mk 12, 38-44)

 The widow’s clothes

The long robes that the scribes liked so much, the greetings they sought in public places, were a sure sign of the vanity that came from their rank, profession and sect. The fact that they claimed the first places in the synagogues, as well as the first places in the festivals, denoted this pride that wanted to shine and dominate in religious ceremonies as well as in civil life.

Because of the amphibiousness that would be attached to the term « eating », Jesus was alluding to the sumptuous meals that the Pharisees had served in the homes of these women, acting as their directors of conscience. They were the Tartuffes of the day.

 Jesus sat in front of the treasury and observed what people put into it. He saw a poor widow who gave two pites (small coins). He called his disciples to him and told them that this woman, who put into the treasury all she had to live on, gave more  than the others who put in their excess.

The temple treasury was located in the women’s courtyard and consisted, according to the rabbis, of thirteen chests or trunks, which were called trumpets because of their instrument-like shape. The first institution of this treasury is mentioned in 2 Kings 12:9. It was there that the free offerings for the temple and worship were deposited.

 The poor widow had indeed put more into the treasury than all the others, all things considered; for their offering was taken from the superfluous, while hers came from a poverty which Mark tried to make heard in three different expressions: from her destitution, from her lack, all that she had, all her subsistence.

The superiority of his offering over those of others lay in his motives, whose moral value Jesus understood. He did not give alms, but a gift for divine worship, inspired only by love for God, to whom he gave his heart and his life, his love, his boundless trust in God, to whom he entrusted the care of a future absolutely devoid of everything.

Deacon Michel

 Links to other Christian websites

◊ Catholic for life : click here to read the paper → HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

◊ Father Hanly : click here to read the paper →  Homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

♥ Franciscans of the Immaculate : ‘Homily: The Widow’s Mite »

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