Mk 12:38-44 Two Cents
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A poor widow came and put two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
When something is very precious we say it is of great value. When we say something weighs a ton we mean to say it has tremendous weight. But for God, something “of great value” or “of tremendous weight” can actually refer to two small coins.
I have no sense of direction. I always get lost. Thank God for GPS! Believe me. Some people are really bad at remembering directions. I am horrible! I not only get lost getting to someone’s house, I get lost leaving their house. I am doomed if I don’t pay attention to where I am going and damned if I do! I get lost everywhere, even in parking lots. One day I was convinced that someone had stolen my car. I was absolutely convinced of it. But before I called the police, I decided to press the panic button on my keychain. Although my internal GPS might not be good, my hearing is. Over time I learned a trick: to do the opposite of what I am thinking. When I think I need to turn right, I will turn left. When I am convinced I need to go north, I will go south. If I do the opposite of what I think, I typically end up on the right side of the neighborhood.
Since the world thinks its standing right side up, I need to think upside down. When the world thinks its heading in the right direction, I know it’s heading in the wrong direction.
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.”
Wow! That’s me. That’s my natural idea of success. Maybe it’s yours too. Every day I yank out my internal yard stick and measure how I’m doing. Let’s see…how many dinner invitations did I get this week? How many people recognized me at the Pancake House this week? How many people congratulated me after Mass? Let’s see how I’m doing on the road to success! Did I hear the roar of the crowd today? Was it more or less than yesterday?
What does the Lord have to say about this? BEWARE!
What do you consider to be success? What’s your internal yard stick measure? Is it the number of glances or winks you got in a single day? Or the number of people who came up to you and said, “You look so beautiful!” Do you keep track of how many dates you went on? Or how many friends called you this weekend? Do you keep count on the number of friends you have on Facebook or the number of high school or college graduation parties you were invited to? Is it the number of pounds you lost? We all know your list is long so keep going…
St . Paul tells his young disciples, Timothy, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching…“Be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry…I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.” (2Tim 4:1-8)
Wow! Do I think like this? Do I even pretend to live like this?
The key understanding St. Paul is to understand Jesus Christ. What does the Lord consider to be success? What’s important to Him and how does He measure it? The answer is found in the greatest commandment: Love God and your neighbor as yourself. How does the Lord measure this Love? Not in inches or in pounds but in sacrifices.
Let’s start measuring ourselves according to Christ’s specifications. In this way, two cents will be much more than its weight in gold!