Our Whole Livelihood

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.”
(Luke 21:1-4)

Scripture Study

21:1 contribution box The Greek word used here, gazophylakion, may refer to a room in the temple or to a box used to collect contributions.

21:2 two small copper coins The coins described here had the least value of any currency in Jesus’ time.

21:4 all the means of subsistence The Greek phrase used here means “all the livelihood” or “all the life,” implying that her giving was so generous it could impede upon her survival. This links the widow’s action to the greatest commandment [While the Hebrew text of Deut 6:5 includes three aspects of loving God, Jesus lists four, including a reference to the “mind.” In ancient Hebrew thought, the heart was the seat of human intelligence and will. When the scribe (teacher of the law) restates the command, he refers to “understanding” rather than “soul” and “mind” (Mark 12:33). Jesus then recognizes that the scribe has answered “wisely” or “with understanding”] and to Jesus’ explanation of what belongs to God [Jesus’ teaching makes clear that His followers should be willing to be subject to political authorities (provided that it does not compromise their allegiance to Him). However, just as denarii belong to Caesar because they bear his image, the whole of one’s life belongs to God because people bear the image of God (Gen 1:26–27)]. 

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the poor widow who gave her last penny to the Temple treasury. Her behavior makes us consider our possessiveness. What do we tell ourselves all the time? That we’re not happy because we don’t have all the things that we should have or that we want to have. What follows from this is that life becomes a constant quest to get, to acquire, to attain possessions.

Do you remember the parable about the foolish rich man? When his barns were filled with all his possessions, he decided to tear them down and build bigger ones. Why is he a fool? Because (and I want you to repeat this to yourself as I say it) you have everything you need right now to be happy.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.


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