Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

This morning’s Scriptures give us some extraordinary examples of generosity and sharing of goods. Both the first lesson and the Gospel lesson give us the example of the poor, even the poorest of the poor, sharing everything they have. That widow from Zarepheth who is encountered by Elijah asking her for food tells him, “This is all I have, the last cup of flour and this little bit of oil. When I bake the bread and my son and I eat it, we will die.”

Elijah assures her that God will provide. She goes ahead and shares with him this last food that is available to her and her son. In the Gospel lesson, the widow with just two small coins, not from her abundance but from her very meager poverty, puts those in the Temple treasury. It’s apparent that you could hardly find more extraordinary examples of sharing, not from one’s abundance, but from one’s very need. We might wonder first of all, should we really give away everything we have, or should be try to be responsible in trying to foresee our needs and take care of our needs and the needs of those for whom we are responsible?

Of course, the answer to that is yes. We have a responsibility to try to achieve for ourselves the full human life God intends, and yet, the two widows are examples for us, first of all, because of their generosity. Even out of their need, they are willing to share what little they have. If someone else needs it, they will share that tiny bit. That’s the first thing we need to learn from these women is the willingness to share always whatever is needed by others, out of our abundance or out of our poverty, the attitude of sharing…

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