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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Sunday 32nd (A) in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Mk 12, 38-44): In his teaching to the crowds Jesus said, «Beware of those teachers of the Law who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow's and the orphan's goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!».

Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins. Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, «Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living».

«All of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty»

Fr. José MARTÍNEZ Colín
(Culiacán, Mexico)

Today, the Gospel presents Jesus Christ as the Master, who speaks to us about the detachment which we must live by. In the first place, a detachment of our honor and recognition which, every so often, we are looking for: «Beware of (…) being greeted in the marketplace, and occupy the reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts» (cf. Mk 12:38-39). In this sense, Jesus prevents us from following the bad example of the scribes.

In the second place, detachment of material things. Jesus Christ praises the widow while regretting, at the same time, the deceit of the others: «For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave [the widow] from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living» (Mk 12:44).

He who does not live the detachment of worldly things does live full of his own ego, and is incapable of loving. In such a state of mind there is no “room” for others: neither compassion nor leniency or understanding towards our neighbor.

Saints provide us with examples. Here is a fact of Saint Pius X’s life, when he still was the bishop of Mantua. A merchant wrote slanders against the bishop. Many friends advise him to sue the slanderer, but the future Pontiff replied: «This poor soul is more in need of prayer than of punishment». He did not indict him, he prayed for him.

But that was not the end of it; after a while, this merchant went bankrupt. All creditors fell on him, and he lost everything. Only one person helped him out: it was the very same bishop of Mantua who, anonymously, sent him an envelope with some money, by saying that it was coming from the most Compassionate Lady, that is, from Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Do I truly live the detachment of the earthly realities? Is my heart empty of things? Can my heart become aware of others’ needs? «The program of a Christian —the program of Jesus— is a “heart that sees”» (Benedict XVI).