The Gift of Generosity

Luke 21: 1-4
Rv 14: 1-3. 4b-5/ Ps 24: 1-6

While Jesus watched the wealthy bringing their offerings to the temple, He noticed a poor widow go up to the treasury to put in two small coins.
(Luke 21: 1)

To those who practice charity,
God’s blessings flow abundantly;
With grateful hearts let’s strive to be
God’s gifts of generosity

When Jesus looked up, He saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the temple treasury, and He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their surplus wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

Reflection

The widow’s contribution demonstrates the lesson that our Lord is imparting, that it is not so much what we give that counts, but what we are willing to give up. It is the spirit behind our giving that gives our gift its worth. There are two reasons we can think of why the widow decided to part with her last two coins. The first is out of gratitude. In spite of her poverty, she wanted to express her gratitude to God for some blessing(s) that she might have received. Those who have less in life seem to have more in wisdom. This is God’s justice. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:3) Which points to the other reason– her strong faith. She firmly believed that by giving everything to God, He would surely reciprocate her sacrifice by giving back to her ten times or even more than what she had surrendered. She had complete faith in God’s providence and generosity.

Today’s Gospel of Luke teaches us several things about the gift of giving. The first is, it doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor, we must never neglect our obligation to support our church, as the widow did for her temple. The amount is not as important as the sincerity of our intention.

The second lesson we learn today is, we must give with total trust in the Lord’s Providence, believing that the cornucopia of God’s bounty will always be available to us. If we really have genuine faith in God, then we should harbor no doubt that He will open the floodgates of heaven to fill all our needs.

The third lesson Christ teaches us is this – “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also get a generous harvest. God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Cor.9:6,8) Most important of all, by being a gift to others, we become God’s answer to their prayers. This was demonstrated by the sacrificial love and generosity of Gidget, who donated one of her kidneys to her cousin Deng, who had been undergoing dialysis for some time, and had come to the point when only a kidney transplant could save her life. Even with the possibility that her donated kidney might be rejected, Gidget willingly took the risk, because she had the faith of a giver. She brings to mind the words of Khalil Gibran on “Giving”: “There are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life. . . Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.”

Lord, may the words of St. Paul apply in all our dealings: “The One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Cor. 9:10) Amen.

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