did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
Mk 12:38-44 or 12:41-44
In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long
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."
sitting in the temple, the place he called the house of
Abba. He had spoken about its discontinuation on
several occasions. He had spoken about its closure. He
had even spoken about its destruction, but it was still the
old house of Abba. He sat somewhere on the foot of a
column, to take in more easily the things happening
around him. The scene he was in must have been fantastic,
as far as we can judge from the reconstruction made.
Very important people would suddenly
appear on the scene, enormously rich merchants who made
their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem from
were lavishly dressed, full of money. They were very
willing to deposit large sums of clanking silver and
gold in the offering boxes in view of their further
business interests, before starting their deals. The
priests in that time had quite a bit of influence.
looked at them, listening to the noise the money made.
He was not impressed. Priests would appear
dressed in a way that singled them out from the common
people as much as possible. When they appeared, the
Jewish commoners immediately gave way. The best places
were evacuated, pillows and cushions were brought in to
allow them to pray after their servants cleaned the
seats to avoid any kind of impurity. Jesus looked at
them. He listened to the noise of their prayers from
the foot of the pillar on which he sat.
was not impressed.
Scribes came in, people who knew the law. They knew it
so well because, for the greater part, they had made it
up themselves. Does this sound familiar? They
would sit down to listen to the legal difficulties of
those who were willing to pay and were defenseless
against the hypocritical defenders and protectors of
their rights. They would listen . . . up to the moment that
the last penny of their victims – often poor widows and
disinherited orphans – had been paid to them, after
having sold the last things they had in this world.
Jesus looked at them, he listened to the noise of their
voices and the scratching of their pens.
He was not
were very impressed. They had come from all over the
world to the temple, to see that spectacle. It was
there, they thought, that you could see life, the real
thing. It was there, they said, that human life was
decided. It was there, they supposed, that the future
was made. Up-country people, a little shy because they
felt badly dressed and not at all at ease, gaped a those
merchants, priests, and scribes. Jesus too, looked at
it all from the foot of the pillar on which he sat,
and he was not impressed in the slightest.
she came in – old, wrinkled, sickly, and very thin. In
her hands she carried a handkerchief. She was hiding
something. She went to the offering block. Jesus
looked at her. He did not say a word. He just looked.
At the offering block, she opened her handkerchief. Now
he could see what she had been hiding: two small copper
coins, all the money she had. She could have divide
those two coins between herself and the temple, one coin
for each, but she did not do that. She took both her
coins and dropped them in the opening of the offering
block, already being pushed aside by others with bags
and bags of gold and silver.
stood up. He called his disciples together. In between
all that pomp and circumstance, the silver and the gold,
the cassocks and the capes, the mitres and the crosiers,
the books and the dusty papers, he pointed her out to
them and said: “She gave all she had.” She was pure in
her intentions. Look at what she did, and forget about
all the rest.
of us often wonder about the things we do in life. “Was
I really born,” a housewife might sigh, “to change the
diapers of my children? Shouldn’t I do something more
important?” “Did I really come into this world, “a
never promoted clerk might say, “to push papers all my
life? Is that all there is to my existence?” When we
worry like that, and who doesn’t? – we should remember
that scene in the temple, this scripture reading, where
a simple act of love was considered greater than
anything else in the world: the real and decisive
Giving all she had was more imporatant
than anything the others had done, because it was done
from heart, out of love. Isn't that suppose to be
what we should do, Give from our hearts? Does it
really matter what position of our job, what career, how
much money we have, what we own, who we are, or who we
think we are? None of that matters to Jesus my
friends. He only cares about the heart! Is
it a giving heart, not so concerned about what it is or
how much or how little, but more concered with "how it
is given." Whe we give to others out of love, no
matter how great or small, that my friends, is all that
matters to Jesus! And perhaps that is what should
only matter to us! Peace!
Deacon Steve A. Politte
November 8th, 2015