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He noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Of what I need.
In this Gospel passage, Christ once again reminds me that I do not have the authority or necessary tools to judge anyone. But there is something else that strikes me: the value of what the elderly woman gives is measured mainly because what she gives is all she had to live on. She doesn’t give out of her surplus, but out of what she needs for herself.
I can give from what I have left after reserving what I am entitled to, or I can give from what I legitimately deserve and need. Giving what I need, surrendering what I need and what I am entitled to. That is the true value of giving, and in marriage, we have many opportunities to do so. May the Lord, who sees us, be amazed at how we give ourselves, and not just the leftovers.
Applying it to married life:
Marriage Mentor: How was yesterday? Did you overcome the temptations of the devil in the difficult circumstance you were facing?
Carlos: It went well, thank God. Carmen brought up the same issue again and started giving reasons to defend her position, as she always does. Usually, I respond with my own reasons and the atmosphere starts to heat up, because it’s a topic that, as you know, has left us resentful. So, I gave up the need I felt to defend my reasons in order to safeguard our relationship and avoid conflict with her.
Marriage Mentor: And did that help overcome the temptation in the moment?
Carlos: At first, it seemed like it did, but then she started to be bothered by my silence. She took offense at my silence and became more and more nervous, repeating phrases I had said in previous arguments, until she ended up offending me and getting angry with me.
Marriage Mentor: What did you do then?
Carlos: I love her so much that I understood her pain. So, I gave up my need for justice and sacrificed my honor for her well-being.
Marriage Mentor: Blessed be God. You have given much, and therefore, you have loved much. It is the power of your sacramental marriage that made it possible.
Carlos: I’m sure I didn’t do it with my own strength.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta put it very simply: Give until it hurts. Let my sacrifice for my spouse be felt, so that I know I am giving beyond what I have left. We offer this to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.