November 11, 2012 – Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Truly trusting in God is hard for every one of us. To give Him all we are and all we have and know that He will take care of us is not easy. We want to be in control. We feel more secure when we have the material possessions we feel that we need, when we can make the decision we believe ought to be made, when we have control. It’s ironic, really, because, as scripture tells us, God cares for us even more than we care for ourselves. He knows our every need, He knows our every desire, and He knows what is best for us. What’s more, He only wants what’s best for us, and He has shown us that throughout all of life.
Look around. Notice the beauty of nature, the love of our families; think about the talents you have, the house you live in, so on. All of these things are gifts from God. He loves us so much that He makes sure we are blessed beyond measure, and cared for beyond our ability to understand. That’s not to say He has made life easy for us. Some of us have encountered major difficulties throughout life and some of us are going through severe hard times now. Life isn’t easy. But when we surrender control, when we give all we have and all we are to God and we allow Him to lead us, to care for us, there is a peace in knowing that we will indeed be taken care of. But that requires great trust.
In today’s readings, we hear of two individuals who exercised great trust in God, and their efforts were rewarded.
First, we hear about a widow who was out gathering sticks when Elijah asked her to bring him some food. She was preparing to cook the remainder of the food she had for her and her son. In the midst of a famine, they had very little, and the prophet was asking her to give of what little she had.
Imagine how scary that must have been for her. Already, she faced the possibility of impending death, as she knew the food she had left would account for the last meal she could cook for herself and her son, and Elijah was asking her to give up some of that. She had to trust.
Elijah assured her: “For the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour shall never go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”
And so she took the leap of faith. She gave of what little she had so that Elijah, too, could eat, and scripture tells us she and her son did not go hungry.
The Gospel reading tells us a similar story of a widow who had very little and yet gave of what little she had. She was sure to offer the Lord all that she had because she recognized her need to give, to offer God a return of His gifts to her in thanksgiving, and she trusted that He would take care of her.
The Lord’s response to the widow’s great gift offers us an important lesson on the stewardship way of life.
Though the monetary value of the widow’s gift was minimal, the act itself was quite a grand one.
“Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more then all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
We ought to follow in these women’s footsteps. The stewardship way of life, indeed the life of a Christian disciple, requires that we place all of our trust in the Lord. He has given us every good gift. Even our very lives come by way of gift from Him, and so, as we return a portion of the gifts He has given us, we really ought to give Him our all, to give without hesitation, knowing that He will take care for us beyond our ability to understand.