November 26, 2018
by Joan Blandin Howard
Creighton University's Christian Spirituality Program
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary 503

Revelation 14:1-2, 4b-5
Psalms 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
Luke 21:1-4

Beginning Advent

Preparing for Advent


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent

Jesus noticed….

How did I not notice  “a poor widow putting (two small) coins….into the treasury.”?

Now that I ‘notice’ her, I look at her.  I see her.  She is not old, but her dry, leathered skin makes her look much older than she actually may be.  A patina of gray grime covers her once lovely blue dress.  Now faded, was it once a rich dark blue or more of a lavender blue?   Now, nearly transparent.  Her too small brownish sweater stretches over her protruding shoulder bones and knobby elbows. Patched many times over.  The buttons long gone.  I wonder if she has a warm coat or waiting to be offered one from a stranger, a benefactor or one she digs out of a donated bag of clothing.  No socks and her shoes are worn down to their soles.  It appears the same is not true of her soul. 

You know, I just may have seen her before.  May have casually noted her presence without giving her any recognition.   Now I wonder what her name is and where she lives and how did she get here?  Here in the middle of this large metropolitan city.  Does she live in a group home, in a shelter, in a cardboard box?  Does she live alone, with acquaintances, family members or complete strangers?  Is she sick?  Does she have medical care, eat regularly? Does she have children and know where they are and are they being cared for?          I

I slide into a pew and watch as Grace, I call her “Grace”, kneels beside the “poor box” at the foot of the side altar of Mary.  Mary is a gentle expression of comfort and compassion.   Her warm eyes and extended welcoming arms seem to be offering hospitality just to Grace.  As if she, Mary, was there especially for Grace.

Grace rocks on her knees as she balances on the hard marble steps. As she quietly wobbles to her feet she inconspicuously drops coins into the “poor box”.

She giving to someone she feels is more in need than she.  “Offering(s)….from  her poverty…”.                    

She slowly walks to the back of the church.  Moves into a pew and gracefully lies down and curls up on the bench.   

I begin to notice several of her brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers – hers and mine – are making this place of hospitality their resting place, if for only a while.

The poor of Spirit, the poor of mind, body and soul have found refugee and solace in this House of God.   Mary welcoming her brothers and sisters, Welcoming Grace’s brothers and sisters.  Welcoming my brothers and sisters.  Welcoming our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers.   Welcoming all of us.

All are welcome in this place.                            Amen

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