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Genuine Gratitude

Today’s Gospel narrative remembers Jesus’ observation and reflection upon the generosity of the little people in His own day. Jesus pointed out the example of a poor widow who contributed to the Temple’s charitable storehouse not from her excess, but from what she had to live on. Her generosity meant that she would have less to eat herself precisely in order that others would have at least something to live on. Jesus was subtly being critical of the wealthy, who, though they knew of the needs of so many around them, were not as willing to share their ‘fortune’. The widow was an example of one who gave out of justice, thankful for what she already had and who demonstrated that her genuine gratitude led to true compassion for others

The widow of the Gospel had a generous heart, as did the widow in the 1st Reading. They looked outward to the needs of others and gave what they could. Can we not do the same? We may not have much money to spare, but we can give in others ways – we can give our time, our care and concern for others. Sally Koch said, “Great opportunities to help others seldom come but small ones surround us every day.” This is shown in our contacts with family, neighbours, fellow workers, service people, our community. They are manifested in simple acts such as taking the time to play a game/ read a book to our child; acknowledging and thanking a spouse for simple tasks done to keep a house running; taking a meal to a senior living by himself/herself; offering to babysit for a single mother so she can have some time to herself or a young couple so they can go to a movie without the expense of a babysitter; driving someone from a seniors’ home to Mass each week; complimenting service given by the clerk at the grocery store. We should never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes these little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts. These may seem like small acts but they are important in that they bring joy and hope to others. They show that we are trying to live as followers of Jesus seen by how we speak, how we act and in how we treat others. Service to others is the rent one pays for one’s room here on earth.

Francis of Assisi once said, “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given – a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” Let us be like the widows of the past as we generously share of our time and talents, quietly giving of ourselves in gratitude to a God who gave His all for us.

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