November 23, 2020
by Gladyce Janky
Creighton University's Business and Law
click here for photo and information about the writer

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

Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 21:1-4

Praying Ordinary Time


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent

“..and he noticed a poor widow putting in two coins”

How did Jesus know she was a widow?  Was she one of the many unnamed “followers of Jesus” mentioned in the gospels?

As a follower, I imagine her sitting with Jesus, pouring out her brokenness.  He hears her anguish and sees the toll her emotional distress is causing her body.  The death of her husband, her lover, companion, and protector for life, has left her a “poor widow.” I imagine she tells Jesus about everything that died with her husband.  I see her sobbing as she talks about her fears for the future.  She might ask, “What will happen to me?”  I imagine, after listening to her story, Jesus the Counselor asks, “What do you want?”

After she answers, I imagine Jesus the Healer tells her a story of hope and consolation.  Perhaps something like what I hear in Psalm 24:6, “Whoever seeks God and longs to see God’s face will be blessed by God.”  Then he suggests she visit the temple and place an offering into the treasury as an expression of faith and trust in God’s love for her.

The widow freely chooses to take an offering of two coins.  What do the two coins represent?  Observing the temple scene, Jesus notes, “but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”  What is the meaning of “poverty” and “whole livelihood?”  Is poverty only a lack of money and possessions?  Does livelihood include what gives meaning and purpose to life, such as family, community, and thoughts of a hope-filled future?

What is the widow’s prayer as she drops the two coins in the treasury?  Does she ask God to accept the gift of her whole livelihood as a symbol of her desire to release everything to God, her Father?  One coin symbolizing her grief for everything that is lost.  The second coin her fears for the future or the darkness in her soul. How does the widow feel as she walks away from the temple?  Is she relieved?  Has a new space opened within her soul – a place where she welcomes God to dwell? 

2020 has challenged everything we thought was “a normal part of life as we know it.” We have missed all sorts of celebrations.  We have experienced cancelations or adjustments to sacred rituals and family traditions “out of an abundance of caution.”  All of these losses tug at our hearts as we mourn what was and grieve what else we might lose.   

2020 also invites us to strip away what no longer serves our greatest good, our relationship with God.  What are the two coins I am willing to drop in the treasury?  What part of my whole livelihood do I want to re-imagine?  If Jesus asks, “What do you want?” can I freely respond, “Lord, (I am one of your children) that longs to see your face?”

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