Daily Reflection
June 8th, 2002
Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Chaplain in Kiewit Student Residence
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Psalm 71:8-9, 14-15, 16-17, 22
Mark 12:38-44

Jesus describes here a great dichotomy in human behaviors.  On the one hand we see the scribes who live for position, respect, power, and relative wealth: this seems to be the real goal of their lives, at least as Jesus presents them here.  This is where their efforts lead, this is what they place their hope in.  For them success is in their appearance and in the material world.

It is unlikely that Jesus could actually see exactly how much the widow put into the treasury, but that is inconsequential.  The point is that she is the opposite of the scribes: she is not wealthy, lives in a precarious social position, and depends on others not only for comforts but for life itself ("all she had to live on").  This woman's donation is not for the upkeep of the temple or for the sacrifices; she is simply giving God the highest possible praise in abandoning herself completely to him.  Whether to eat or to starve, to live or to die, to be in comfort or in hard straits, she puts herself entirely in God's hands and lets God decide how her life is to be and provide what he wants her to have.

At a time when our expectations of a quality of life and of health care are high and seem to us to be nothing more than our due, it is difficult for us to seek such a freedom, such poverty of spirit and purity of heart.  But are we at least desiring and trying to live in hope as much this beautiful soul does?

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