As he was teaching, he also said to them, “Beware of those teachers of the Law who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow’s and the orphan’s goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!”
Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins.
Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living.”
READ: Jesus taught His listeners on the evil of showing-off one’s holiness. It is not the external religious practices that count in the eyes of God but a consistent life of holiness within and without. He extolled the widow who gave less than others in terms of quantity but bested the rich in the quality of her giving.
REFLECT: Perhaps it is because we are embodied beings that we desperately want to concretize in the material plane even those that belong to the realm of the spirit. Holiness for example is a state that cannot be quantified. It is expressed in our speech and action in an unconscious manner. It attaches itself to our being. Thus seen or unseen, it never changes. It simply is. But some people knowing our need for the material and concrete capitalize on this by faking holiness. They invent elaborate actions and speeches that are too loud and glaring. They intrude into our awareness without being invited. She was not ashamed to show her inadequate status. And thus her little, guileless acts exude odor of sanctity. These poured from a genuine center.
RESPOND: I may have fallen prey to the occasional need to act out my good deeds for others to praise me. A close scrutiny of my heart is perhaps in order today to purge myself of the need to boast and perform acts of holiness for my own sake.
PRAY: Father Almighty, save me from my tendency to seek praise and recognition even in the sphere of spirituality. Make my acts of piety genuine and true and free from affectations and artifices. May all redound to Your greater glory. Amen.
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