Gospel Reflections

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 12:38-44

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary Evelyn McKenna

Published: November 08, 2015

Read Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in... Read More…

Today’s Gospel is one of those which has a “long form” and a “short form” in the Lectionary. Often when this is the case, one of the parts seems much like a repetition, perhaps with a few slight differences. Today’s reading is not repetitive in the two forms.

The “long form” recounts Jesus’ strong denunciation of the Scribes whose good deeds are done for show – in the temple, in the streets, in public. In part 2, the “short form,” we observe the widow in the Gospel who, like the widow of Zaraphath, gives generously from what she needs to live on.

The placement of the two incidents together is not an accident. Both Mark and Luke superimpose, as it were, Jesus’ observations and comments on the offerings of the scribes and the widow. Therefore, were we to reflect upon the widow alone, we would be missing the full impact of Jesus’ words.

God sees hearts, not only external actions. Generosity is certainly measured in dollars, euros, hours and minutes, but God judges the intentions of the giver. If we were to place ourselves on a continuum with the Scribes on one end and the widow at the other, most of us would probably find ourselves partway between being hypocrites and having a totally generous heart.

- Were Jesus to sit and observe me as he did those in the temple, what would he see?
- What challenges does this incident present to me?
- What will be my response?

May our Loving God
give us the wisdom and strength
we need to continue to grow in generosity and authenticity!

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