Sunday, November 8, 2015

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

"She gave everything she had to live."

Does anyone really give like that, ever? And why is this held up as a model of how to live in the scriptures?

Imagine saying these words: "I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die."

There are probably several ways to respond to this line, but the response of the prophet does not seem like one of them: "But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son."

Were it not for the exhortation to "not be afraid" and "to trust," accompanied by the promise that God's work will take care of her, this response of the prophet would be at best offensive if not outright hateful.

But the woman did trust and did experience the promise. And the woman in the temple who gave "everything she had" showed a similar trust in God. What she gave was not a lot of money, but her whole self – all she had. This is an extraordinary lesson that we receive today.

Jesus once again shows us the true meaning of giving and sharing. The word of God does not just choose the example of someone quite poor, but rather chooses the destitute.

These people had nothing. After giving all they had, there was nothing else left but to wait for death. That is destitution. But imagine their last act was one of giving. Their last choice was to let go of everything. Neither seems to do it with regret – they just simply give.

How do we give? What is our definition of generous? Do we give begrudgingly? Do we give with strings attached?

Is our giving a giving of the whole self? Do we trust in the promise? Do we believe in God’s care for us?

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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