Generosity and Faith in God’s Providence
Readings: 1st: Kg, 17, 10-16; Ps 145; 2nd: Heb 9, 24-28; Gos Mk 12, 38-44
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today, the thirty second Sunday of ordinary time, the church encourages us to learn and appreciate the virtue of charity. So, as Christ completely and freely offered himself for our salvation, we must not be afraid to give for the good of others. In all of the today’s readings, one central theme can be drawn and that is: generosity, or better still, the total offering of not just one’s possession, but of oneself with faith in the God’s divine providence.
In our first reading, the widow encountered Elijah the prophet of God who challenged her faith. In spite of her scarcity and poverty, she was able to meet all the demands of Elijah who like “Oliver Twist was always asking for more.” She passed the acid test by exercising a firm belief that what God spoke through his prophet will definitely stand: “The jar of meal will not be spent….the jug of oil shall not be emptied.” Indeed they never finished! Of course this trust in God’s providence never failed her and her son. Rather, their situation improved moving from penury to abundance, from misery to luxury, and from poverty to prosperity
The second reading highlights the fact that Christ also offered (“once and for all”) everything for our salvation. He did this with total trust in God’s divine providence. Of course, he also gained everything in return. Similarly, in the gospel the widow offered everything in faith while trusting in God’s divine providence for survival. She had to make that sacrifice because she knew the God she was serving. So, she did not need to contend with whether she was doing the right thing or not, how to survive in the future, or what will happen in case of an emergency. Instead, she conquered the selfish instinct of survival or self preservation by placing her whole future in the hands of the God.
The lessons we can learn from today’s readings include first, all the figures in our readings were not selfish. Instead, they sacrificed everything they owned for the sake of God and the good of others. Second, their faith in God’s divine providence is incomparable to what we find in our world today. In life, moments of scarcity, as many families are experiencing it today, are moments of test, as well as moments of faith.
At times, some of us think that if we give something to help someone in need, we would be left with nothing. However, it is important to note that the little we give to others is greater than the much we save or store for ourselves. This is why Tobit advices us that: “It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin. Those who perform acts of charity and righteousness will have fullness of life” (12, 8-9). There is a very simple saying that: “Givers never lack!” This is because they trust in the providence of God who gives us everything freely.
Finally, as the great provider, “God is ready to supply all our needs according to his riches in glory through Christ” (Phil 4, 19). He knows our needs and how to meet them. All we need to do is to trust in his providence as the widows in our readings today did. So, let us ask Christ to grant us a very generous heart and a strong faith that will enable us work for others, give to others, love others, pray for others, and above all, offer our whole being to God for the salvation of others. Peace be with you!