November 11, 2018 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
November 11, 2018
Mark 12: 38 – 44
Fr. George Smiga
The temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus was a busy place. Thousands of pilgrims were arriving each day. There were people praying, rabbis teaching their students, merchants selling animals for sacrifice and, of course, vendors selling whatever was the first century equivalent of the modern t-shirt. The number of people and the activity would not be unlike the scene at the Brown’s game this afternoon. Yet with crowd and feverish activity, in today’s gospel what Jesus notices is a poor widow. A widow who is probably the most insignificant person in the whole temple area.
Jesus not only notices her, but he knows her story. He knows that she is desperate. He knows that the few coins she puts into the temple treasury are all that she has. The text does not tell us whether the widow knew that Jesus had noticed her. In fact, she probably was accustomed to being unnoticed. As a widow without family or friends, she was a largely invisible person to the powerful and rich people in the temple area. Yet she pushes her way through the crowd to reach the treasury and offer her two small coins. She believes that God will see her small act of faith. God does. Jesus sees her and loves her.
This gospel tells us that we are never invisible to God. When we find ourselves in desperate situations like the widow, we are tempted to say, “No one knows my pain. No one understands my struggle. No one sees the burden that I carry.” This gospel is telling us that God sees our burden and loves us. We might feel captured in a loveless relationship—a marriage or a family connection—and that relationship is draining us of life. We look at other people and they seem to be so happy. We are ashamed to admit to others the emptiness that we feel inside. We say to ourselves, “No one understands my pain.” Today’s gospel says: God understands your pain and loves you. We might be struggling with unkind actions towards us—bullying at school, derogatory remarks by the people with whom we hang around. We put on a strong face. We try to laugh along with the hurtful remarks, but inside we are afraid. Afraid of who might turn up and what they might say. We say, “No one knows the fear that I carry”. God knows your fear. God knows your story and loves you. We might be overwhelmed with grief, grief over a person we have lost in death or the end of an important relationship. People offer us their sympathy, but we know they also think it is about time we get over it. We can’t get over it. So, we take that grief, bring it inside, and carry it alone. No one notices. God notices and loves you.
We are never invisible to God. God sees the burdens that we carry and loves us. Therefore, when we find ourselves in desperate situations like the widow, whatever small steps we can take towards life, whatever weak faith we can offer, whatever small coins we can give, all of these things are of great value. Because, if God sees us and loves us, there is hope.