The two widows

November 7, 2021

Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament, makes his first appearance in the Bible in the midst of a terrible drought and famine. The Lord, however, has promised to watch over him. But this does not mean that Elijah can sit back and wait for food and water to magically appear. No, God sends him out on a mission. God calls him to persuade the people who have lost their faith in God and begun to worship Baal, the Canaanite god of rain, storms, and fertility. At the same time, God deputizes others to care for Elijah. In the passage preceding today’s reading, ravens – associated with the spirit world – help lead him to a stream of running water and feed him bread and meat. Today we hear of a widow who shares what she thinks will be her last morsel of food with him. In a foreign land, Elijah is taught by God to rely on generous, hospitable strangers to sustain his life. The two widows we meet today are faces of Christ, particularly of the ultimate sacrifice he will make. These widows had no “safety net” to rely on, from either government assistance or institutional programs. Without an income or social standing, they were left to rely on the generosity of others. Yet, it was their own generosity that made them models of Jesus’ self-sacrifice. Each willingly gives her only asset, “her whole livelihood,” to the Lord (Mark 12:44). In our acquisitive culture, in which society judges us by our possessions and we are always encouraged to buy the newest, the latest, the hottest, giving from our want is countercultural, even crazy. As Jesus leaves the temple in the very next verse of Mark’s Gospel, he tell his disciples that the temple will soon be destroyed. They realized only later that he was referring to the temple of his body. In a sense, then, this poor widow was doing the same thing: giving her whole life to the body – sitting down opposite the collection box, we certainly would increase our offering, perhaps even to more than we can afford. We need to be reminded that what we do for the least of our sisters and brothers, we do for him. Anna, another widow of immense faith, encountered the infant Jesus during his first appearance in the temple. This widow stood in the presence of the Messiah, the Christ, during his final appearance there. Amen. (Casey, Most Reverend Robert G. Pastoral Patterns. World Library Publication, 2021).

Share This Post


Remember a friend in prayer today.