32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sometimes I tease children while chatting to the parents: ‘Can I borrow your teddy for a day?’ They look at me confused and then maybe with a little prompting from the parent hand over the teddy. Then they realise what has happened and there are tears!! Giving can be costly!
In today’s reading, the story of the two widows’ generosity is astounding. In biblical times, widows were among the poorest of the poor. The man was usually the breadwinner. The widow and the orphan always represent the poor and the vulnerable. We can widen our vision to those two to see all who are in poverty today are in the same position.
The first reading, the poor widow in the middle of a famine, shares her last morsel of food with Elijah that she and her son had to live on. In the Gospel, Jesus notices the offering of the widow; her last few pence – all she had. Both widows gave everything and somehow trusted totally in God. There was no help coming from anywhere else! Rich people give out of their plenty not even missing the gift given. For Jesus, true generosity is measured not by the amount given, but by what is left after the giving: Nothing!
Notice the contrast that Jesus makes about the Scribes and the Pharisees. They give out of their plenty; they want to be honoured in the public streets; they make and enact the laws and tread on the poor while saying long prayers reminding God of how good they are!
We need to beware, not to fall into the same trap.
COP26 (Conference of the People) in Glasgow: Can we bring the scripture messages we have read about above to help us see what is happening at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change?
The International Leaders have all returned home and some very important agreements have been signed by them. Now the real work begins. All those government representatives and assistants, have to sit down and iron out plans of action for each country and communities. They and we have to “listen to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth”.
The widows in our readings represent the millions of people who are affected by climate change. As we know, those who cause least or no havoc are the ones that suffer most as a result of the activities of the richer nations. The have the least power to defend themselves and rely on others for help. This help is often slow in coming. This is why public opinion and pressure is so important. Notice some of the delegates mentioned the idea of showing ANGER at the inactivities of leaders.
One of the sad realities is that the challenges facing us and COP26 have been discussed and agreed but not really acted upon: Kyoto 1997; Buenos Aires 1998; Paris 2015; Katowice, 2018 etc.
Now is the hour before it is too late. Hopefully, the public interest and especially our young people will not allow those promises to keep our global temperature of 1.50C, to go unfulfilled.
All of us, as we hear again and again, owe it to our future generations to be good stewards of God’s Creation. Let us act accordingly.
That’s enough for this week! God bless, Fr Joe