August 22

Reflection

Jesus’ words cut through the patina of respectability and their truthfulness managed to anger those in power. In the incident of the widow in the temple, Jesus focuses on the utter self-abandonment of a nameless woman. She gives all. She is a woman whom we would label as a victim. In her society, she is vulnerable. As a widow, she is a victim of the economic and social injustices of her world. But notice what she does. She gives her all and exposes the whole system of accumulation and acquisition. She becomes a judgment upon the cautious, grasping culture in which she lives and shows the way to a very different world. Jesus, being the embodiment of that alternative world, praises her. He makes it clear that outer show is not a substitute for inner character. and that the manner one gives is worth more than the gift. For Jesus, a false, self-centered piety will not do and he is not afraid to make that clear to those in power.

Prayer

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew my spirit.

Action

Am I caught in the web of false values?
Do I accept the manipulative pious hypocrisy I see and hear?
How does this incident reflect situations in our present political and
religious spheres?
Where can I contribute either in service or by sharing what I have?

 

Suggested Reading

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“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 12:38 -44
I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.
Abraham Lincoln

Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness.
Anthony J. D’Angelo

Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.
J.C. Watts

Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.
Arthur Freed

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare

It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.
Noël Coward

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