Posted by: frburke23 | November 20, 2016

Thought for Monday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 21:1-4
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
This Gospel reading always makes me so grateful for the generosity of so many. Much of what we do in the Church depends on the generosity of others. For example, our vocation office will spend about $1.8 million this year educating our future priests. This would not be possible if it weren’t for the generosity of many people. There are people who give large sums and there are some like this poor widow who give small amounts, but a large percentage of their personal assets.
Rather than looking at how much we give, the Lord wants us to look at our spirit of generosity. Am I giving to the point where it is sacrificial? Matthew Kelly, in his book Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, says that one thing all dynamic Catholics have in common is generosity. He encourages us to take inventory of our financial giving. What percentage of my income do I give to the Church? The Bible encourages us to tithe (10% of our income). Kelly says that we should increase our giving by 1% every year until we can give no more. Some people give away much more than 10% of their income. We must have a plan.
So many of us give from our excess like the wealthy people in the Gospel. We are proud of their donations, but it may be a small fraction of the blessings that God has given us. All that we have and are comes from God.
The widow, however, gives everything she has – her whole livelihood. Jesus says, “…this poor widow put in more than all the rest…” The widow trusted in the Lord with everything that she had. Do we trust that God will care for us, His beloved children? He will never abandon us. He will not leave us wanting.
Let us take time today to reflect on these questions. Do I trust in the Lord for my very sustenance? Or do I trust in myself? Could I be giving more of my time, talent and treasure to help those that are less fortunate? If everyone shared their wealth with those who were less fortunate, we would live in a different world. We would not have children dying of hunger around the world. We could help provide clean drinking water for millions of people. This is something that we take for granted in this country.
May we trust in God in every aspect of our lives. We cannot outdo God in generosity. The more we give ourselves away the more He blesses us. I have learned that the more generous I am, God gives me more to give away. Take time to look at your personal finances today. Make a plan of giving. Am I giving like the poor widow in this Gospel?
Fr. Burke
Spanish translation:
San Lucas 21,1-4.
Después, levantando los ojos, Jesús vio a unos ricos
que ponían sus ofrendas en el tesoro del Templo.
Vio también a una viuda de condición muy humilde,
que ponía dos pequeñas monedas de cobre,
y dijo: “Les aseguro que esta pobre viuda ha dado más que nadie.
Porque todos los demás dieron como ofrenda algo de lo que les sobraba, pero ella, de su indigencia, dio todo lo que tenía para vivir”.
Esta lectura del Evangelio siempre me deja muy agradecido de la generosidad de tantas personas. Gran parte de lo que hacemos en la Iglesia depende de la generosidad de otros. Por ejemplo, nuestra oficina de vocación gastará cerca de $1.5 millones este año educando a nuestros futuros sacerdotes. Esto no sería posible si no fuera por la generosidad de tanta gente. Hay personas que dan grandes sumas y hay algunos, como esta viuda pobre que dan pequeñas cantidades, pero un gran porcentaje de sus bienes personales.
En lugar de ver lo mucho que damos, el Señor quiere que veamos nuestro espíritu de generosidad. ¿Estoy dando hasta el punto en que es sacrificio? Matthew Kelly, en su libro Los Cuatro Signos de un Católico Dinámico, dice que una cosa que todos los católicos dinámicos tienen en común es la generosidad. Él nos anima a hacer un inventario de nuestras donaciones financieras. ¿Qué porcentaje de mis ingresos le doy a la Iglesia? La Biblia nos anima a dar el diezmo (10% de nuestros ingresos). Kelly dice que debemos aumentar nuestras donaciones en un 1% cada año hasta que ya no podamos dar más. Algunas personas dan mucho más que el 10% de sus ingresos. Debemos tener un plan.
Muchos de nosotros damos de nuestro exceso, como los ricos en el Evangelio. Estamos orgullosos de nuestras donaciones, pero puede ser una pequeña fracción de las bendiciones que Dios nos ha dado. Todo lo que tenemos y somos viene de Dios.
La viuda, sin embargo, da todo lo que tiene – todo su sustento. Jesús dice: “…esta pobre viuda ha dado más que nadie…” La viuda confió en el Señor con todo lo que tenía. ¿Confiamos en que Dios cuidará de nosotros, Sus hijos amados? Él nunca nos abandonará. Él no nos dejará con ganas.
Tomemos tiempo hoy para reflexionar sobre estas preguntas. ¿Confío en el Señor para mi sustento? ¿O confío en mí mismo? ¿Podría estar dando más de mi tiempo, talento y tesoro para ayudar a aquellos que son menos afortunados? Si todos compartieran su riqueza con los que son menos afortunados, viviríamos en un mundo diferente. No tendríamos niños muriéndose de hambre en el mundo. Ayudaríamos a proveer agua potable para millones de personas. Esto es algo que damos por hecho en este país.
Que podamos confiar en Dios en cada aspecto de nuestras vidas. No podemos superar a Dios en generosidad. Cuanto más nos entregamos cuanto más Él nos bendice. He aprendido que cuanto más generoso soy, Dios me da más para dar. Toma tiempo hoy para ver tus finanzas personales. Haz un plan para dar. ¿Estoy dando como la viuda pobre en este Evangelio?
Padre Burke


  1. I find it interesting that you mentioned that Matthew Kelly book. I received it from my last parish at Christmas time some years ago and that particular passage spoke to me, so much that I brought it up at our parish pastoral council meeting in June as we were talking about budgets and offerings and that sort of thing.

    I really don’t know if I am tithing levels or not, I just know that I boost my weekly offering and the Annual Catholic Appeal offering each year. The book helped me to put my trust in God with reference to my financial offerings (and on the path to overall letting go and letting God overall). I grew up dirt poor in a rough part of Chicago so I had a hard time with how much to give and being afraid I would need that money for bills or food or something. I decided to try MK’s approach and trust in God’s generosity as we cannot out give Him. It worked and I am trying to apply it to other areas of my life. This is especially true for me now when I am suffering through some spiritual warfare/turmoil, whatever you want to call it. Sirach, Chapter 2, here I come.

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