..imagine being totally focused in a family crisis on a matter of life & death..& a stranger approaches you to ask for your help..help which potentially will be at cost to your family situation..what are you likely to say in response understandably justifiably?.. listen carefully to our 1st rdg & recognise in it a real life family situation & in conscience an awkward dilemma..
“please bring me a little water..please bring me a scrap of bread in your hand..” a scrap the size of a communion host.. ; Lord have mercy “first make a little scone for me, then make one for yourself & your son” take bless break give.. ; Christ have mercy “the woman did as she was told & they ate..” &12 baskets left over..; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..criticism & gloom of gospel Pt 1 gives way to clear blue sky of Pt 2. Jesus sat opposite treasury, equivalent to our collection basket, where everyone placed their offering in thanksgiving for favours received, or pleading for a cure or healing of broken relationship ..a pound coin or cheque for £3000 gift aided..widow put in a penny “everything she had ; all she had to live on” last handful of meal, last drop of cooking oil, kept for her last meal with her son..& she gave it, the lot..imagine self emptied..a kenosis moment..”go sell all you own, give the money to poor, then come follow me” remember?..selfless humble not arrogant, she didn’t expect a seat never mind the best one, no wheeling & dealing, no bartering with God to gain a miracle; no expectations of preferential blessings or graces, exemption from disease or misfortune..she threw in the lot & her lot..all of it prayerfully under the radar..self sacrifice..years months ago she lost her husband, her beloved & her provider, lost through illness sudden death or tragedy of war or violence..& now a lifetime of readjustment, of coming to terms with what life & her God had dealt her, an imposed changed relationship with her husband & her God; in life thus far each a breadwinner, & without them OT widow of Book of Kings is left on brink of starvation, hopeless, with such a bereavement judged, in those days, a punishment for transgressions in family in earlier generations or current felons sinners..a situation which would have left her in despair, a failure in not being able to succeed as a surrogate breadwinner for her beloved son, made in the image & likeness of her husband..bereft of a future in this life & next..her purgatory or her hell?..in contrast widow in gospel visiting Temple retains [ or has seen restored ] a faith in herself & her God, a special relationship she never sought but which has been asked of her by her loss..she appears at Temple to live out her responsibilities & thereby deepen her love for her God & his love for her. [ “through him & with him & in him”] remember?..her love for her husband & his love for her..”do this in memory of me”..a Eucharistic meeting where, in self sacrifice, she gives all..her husband her breadwinner & her soulmate, & in doing so, finds herself [finds her real self] in a reformed living relationship..ever alive & ever in process of becoming.. “from the little she had she put in everything [& everyone ], all she had to live on” & in doing so, “costing not less than everything “ title of book on prayer by Fr Jock Dalrymple she finds true wealth beyond a fortune, a penny, 30 pieces of silver, or 2 denarii. She was held up/celebrated by Jesus as a template/role model, a fellow disciple of ours, as we too face consequences, gifts blessings of being called up into active service in life & faith.. the old recruiting poster with a bearded soldier, his finger pointing out towards us with caption “your country needs you!”..remember? the call into active servant discipleship continues, a daily call into loving, self sacrificial service “Christ needs you..come follow me”..what happened next to the widow? did she melt back into background again, like widow in 1st rdg, to go out yet again to gather twigs scraps & prepare a final meal for her beloved son..Yemen Nov 2018 & Chapeltown Leeds on our doorstep..meanwhile Jesus watches us opposite our treasury..or, like Rosah Parkes, did widow’s quiet firm but gentle self sacrifice start a movement for change & reformation?..where individuals of dignity respect & faith come together to live simply & to simply love..”do this in memory of me” or is it beyond your pay grade to make such a radical & life threatening decision?..& Jesus still watches, still expectantly still excitedly, because he knows you better than you know yourself “everything, all she had to live on”..& in faith she put it in..the lot..& now what will you offer?.. [32ndSunYrB Mk12;38-44]