The Widow’s Mite: A Lesson in True Religion, by Gayle Somers

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Parable of the Widow’s Mite, Austrian National Library via Europeana / (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

By Gayle Somers, Catholic Exchange, Nov. 5, 2021

Gayle Somers is a member of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Phoenix and has been writing and leading parish Bible studies since 1996. …

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives the disciples a lesson in true religion; the example He uses must have surprised them.

Gospel (Read Mk 12:38-44)

Jesus often warned His disciples of the dangers of false, empty religion.  His strongest words of condemnation in the Gospels are always directed to those who make a showy pious flourish while, at the same time, pervert the meaning of God’s covenant with the Jews.  There were scribes in His day whose goal was their reputation.  They loved “seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets,” but they used their public show of religion to wrest contributions to the Temple (their source of income) from widows with the pretext of reciting “lengthy prayers.”  Anyone who uses religion and reputation this way faces a “very severe condemnation.”

As it happened, when Jesus “sat down opposite the treasury,” He saw someone who was the living example of true religion.  He pointed out that “many rich people put in large sums,” but a “poor widow…put in two small coins worth a few cents.” Nevertheless, Jesus teaches His disciples that she had contributed “more than all” the others.  Why?  She had given “all she had, her whole livelihood,” whereas the others gave “from their surplus.” …

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