32ND SUNDAY HOMILY YEAR B (1)

32ND SUNDAY HOMILY YEAR B

Fr. Mike’s Homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Theme: Courage in Giving

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Sunday November 8 2021
Mk. 12:41-44

Small things matter a lot. Oftentimes we are misled by the quantity, and we miss the value of the quality. So, we tend to disregard the little things. But the fact is, being little or small does not necessarily mean of less value than the bigger ones.

In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus calls the attention of His disciples to the poor widow in the Temple. She gave two small coins to the treasury. What is the value of two small coins, worth only a cent, compared with the large donations from many rich people? For most people, these are nothing, but not for Jesus. As Scriptures say, “God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart.” (1Sam 16:7).

Observing the people giving their donations, Jesus concludes: “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in 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 12:43-44). The wealthy were just giving their surplus, but the widow was giving her whole life.

The former Archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, inspired by the poor widow in the Gospel, launched a very successful project dubbed as “Pondo ng Pinoy”. People were asked to gather twenty-five centavo coins (worth less than half a penny) everyday to help the poor. For most people, this coin is considered as of no value anymore. But after only a couple of years, the fund has gone up to hundreds of millions of pesos and is now financing lots of livelihood projects and relief operations for the poor all over the country.

This is the proof of how small things, given with great love and concern for others, can do wonders. As the famous quotation from the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines said, “Nobody is so poor as to have nothing to give; nobody is so rich as to have nothing to receive.”

The two widows – in the Gospel as well as the widow of Zarephath in the first reading – are true martyrs. Martyrdom does not only refer to the shedding of blood for the faith. Rather, based on its Greek origin, the word “martyr” means witness. The martyrs gave witness to Christ by courageously offering their lives for His sake. Similarly, the widow of Zarephath gave to Elijah her last meal and was ready to die afterwards. The poor widow in the Gospel gave clear witness by contributing “all she had, her whole livelihood” to God. The two small coins were all she had to survive, but she still gave them all, showing her readiness to offer her whole life.

Why was she able to give everything she had? The answer comes from the Letter of the Apostle John: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love drives out fear…and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love” (1Jn 4:18). The widow had genuine love of God. That is why she was not afraid in giving everything she had to live on. She completely trusted that God would always provide for her needs. She is one of those “poor in spirit” mentioned in the Beatitudes. In her poverty, she turned to God, and offered everything in total surrender and trust.

The courage and generosity of the two widows in the readings this Sunday should inspire us to completely trust in God’s providence. This trust should, then, lead us to be more generous in helping those in need, fully knowing that God can never be outdone in generosity.

The famous French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau said: “When a man dies, he carries in his hands only that which he has given away.” Remember this epitaph on the 17th century gravestone of Christopher Chapman in Westminster Abbey: “What I kept I lost. What I spent I had. What I gave I have.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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