Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us heard about how the Lord Jesus praised the faith and dedication of the poor old woman, who went to the Temple to give her donations, just two small coins, which was most of her money, as a devotion to the Lord. He was comparing it to the large donations made by many other people, which they made by boasting and comparing with one another, and by showing them off to show just how generous they were in giving.
To be fair, Jesus was not criticising the rich and the powerful for being wealthy or influential as they were, and neither did Jesus praise the poor to the point that He made all the poor sound so saintly. There are many rich people out there indeed, at the time of Jesus and in our world today, who are truly generous with their money and wealth, sharing them with those who are in need, who readily give whatever extra things and blessings they have with those who have little or none. And there are also poor people who were wicked and evil in those times as it is now.
Similarly, Jesus was not criticising the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for who they were, or for what they were practicing and wearing. What He was criticising is the fact that they did what they had done, all of their prayers and devotions in order to be seen and be praised by the people. They said all the long prayers publicly in the square and marketplaces, all that they would be highly regarded by the people and respected by them.
It is for their love of self-adulation and praise that Jesus had condemned them, similarly with those people who have not donated to the Temple treasury with genuine sincerity, but in order to be seen and praised by others around them. Therefore, it is indeed sad, to see how in our Church today, it is quite often that there are those who attack and persecute priests, religious and laity who are committed to a life of prayer and piety to God, just because, according to them, the priests were wearing ornate and beautiful vestments, or that the churches are richly decorated and ornamented, all the precious vessels and items used in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
That is because those people misunderstood and misinterpreted what Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees and the rich people for. They thought that by doing what they had done, they were doing what the Lord had done. But remember, that many of those priests and laity who were committed to make sure that the Holy Mass and our celebrations of the faith is solemn and worthy of God, is doing so not for their sake, but for God’s sake, unlike those Pharisees.
Most importantly, we should support all those who had given themselves in service to God, committing themselves wholeheartedly, their whole lives to the Lord. If we do see some of them who genuinely erred in their ways, then indeed we should remind them. But it is not ours to judge what we do not know. There are many of those who have left everything behind, fame, money, possessions and worldly renown so that they might serve the Lord and us, His people.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps this should bring us to attention to what all of us Christians need to do in our own lives. Many of us have lived our lives perhaps without realising what it is that each one of us can do in order to contribute in the way that the Lord had commanded us all to do. We live our lives as usual, focusing on what we need and what we want, but failing to do what we should be doing as the disciples of the Lord.
How many of us spend some time to think about all those who are in need around us? How many of us actually take part in helping the good works done by the Church to help all these less privileged brethren of ours? How many of us help to support our priests and all those who have devoted themselves to a religious life? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves, if we have not done any of these.
What is important, brothers and sisters in Christ, is not in the size of our giving or in how much we have contributed. Even the old, poor widow gave only whatever she was capable of giving, but most importantly, she gave it sincerely from her heart, and not from her ego and desire for any rewards or for recognition. And our priests have given their lives, efforts and works for the sake of the Lord, serving Him and all of us. While some had indeed erred and fallen on their ways, but almost every one of them had been faithful and were committed to their vocations.
It is now the part for each and every one of us to take part as well, by devoting our time, effort and actions for the sake of our fellow brethren, for the love of our God, and in all that we do, let us always remember that we do them not for ourselves, but for the greater glory of our God, Who has given us all these blessings we have in life. Let us remember this, as we continue to live in our world today, doing His will all the time. May God bless us all, and remain with us always. Amen.