From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
November 7 – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus is in teaching mode this week, but you can easily miss his primary lesson, especially if you read only the short version of the gospel. He has been in the temple area preaching since his entry into Jerusalem. Pay attention to what catches his eye – what impresses him. Many people focus on the widow who put in everything she had and the attention and praise Jesus gives her for doing so. You may see it as a call for all of us to give more – kind of a fundraising program – but that’s not really his point.
This lesson is about a contrast between scribes and the poor widow (aka the weak and vulnerable). What caught his eye? Not the high social standing or religious airs of the scribes. They caught his ire, for their treatment of others as he noted “they devour the houses of widows.” Jesus saw what others would have missed, a poorly dressed, sad looking woman with grief written on her face, coming to the Temple. She wasn’t important to others and in fact would have been pushed aside. But she was rich in faith and had deep roots in trust for the Lord. What she gave was not just sacrificial, but more importantly, came from the heart. She gave not just of her material self, but she gave completely of herself in total to God. Jesus calls us not only to notice the vulnerable, but to become their advocates condemning the actions of those who diminish them.
As Vincentians, we are often confronted with those who have been mistreated and discarded in society. Many are victims of social injustice and an economic system which disadvantages them. We are called to be their advocates, to notice them, and to not let them be discarded. Despite the obstacles, so often we see great faith and generosity in those who are vulnerable as well. How many times I have heard it asked, “Why did they gave that money away when it could have helped them?” And the reply is so simple – because someone else needed it. We would do well to learn from the poor, – faith and generosity grounded in trust in the Lord. A faith born out of humility and a deep desire to do the will of God. How do I call out the systems and practices which work against the poor improving their lives? Am I swayed by the glamour, power and pretenses of those in positions of influence, or is it the needs of the poor that catches my eye? How do I look in the right places to become rich in faith?
Lord Jesus, help me to see the injustices of society and help me to work against them. Help me to see beyond the glitz, glamour and power of some in society to notice those who are hurting. Grace me with the ability Lord, to see beyond the surface into the hearts of those in need. Allow me to be a conduit of your love lifting them up that they might feel your warm embrace. Make me an advocate with others that I might in turn become rich in your love. We pray all of this in your name. Amen