Saturday, June 09, 2007

Gospel for Saturday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time

Optional Memorial: St Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor
Optional Memorial: Our Lady's Saturday

From: Mark 12:38-44

Jesus Censures the Scribes

[38] And in His (Jesus') teaching He said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places [39] and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, [40] who devour widow's houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

The Widow's Mite

[41] And He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And He called His disciples to Him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. [44] For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."


38-40. Our Lord reproves disordered desire for human honors: "We should notice that salutations in the marketplace are not forbidden, nor people taking the best seats if that befits their position; rather, the faithful are warned to avoid, as they would evil men, those who set too much store by such honors" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc."). See also notes on Matthew 23:2-3, 5, 11 and 14.

41-44. Our Lord uses this little event to teach us the importance of things which apparently are insignificant. He puts it somewhat paradoxically; the poor widow has contributed more than all the rich. In God's sight the value of such an action lies more in upright intention and generosity of spirit than in the quantity one gives. "Didn't you see the light in Jesus' eyes as the poor widow left her little alms in the temple? Give Him what you can: the merit is not in whether it is big or small, but in the intention with which you give it" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 829).

By the same token, our actions are pleasing to God even if they are not as perfect as we would like. St. Francis de Sales comments: "Now as among the treasures of the temple, the poor widow's mite was much esteemed, so the least little good works, even though performed somewhat coldly and not according to the whole extent of the charity which is in us, are agreeable to God, and esteemed by Him; so that though of themselves they cannot cause and increase in the existing love [...] yet Divine Providence, counting on them and, out of His goodness, valuing them, forthwith rewards them with increase in charity for the present, and assigns to them a greater Heavenly glory for the future" (St. Francis de Sales, "Treatise on the Love of God", Book 3, Chapter 2).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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