A Great Contrast
Mark 12: 38-44, Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time. Cycle A

Author: Father Edward Hopkins, LC | Source:

Mark 12: 38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said, "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. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation." He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in 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."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you, the goal of my life. To please you is worth more than any praise or recognition the world can give. I trust that you will always inspire my heart to love you in all I do. I wish only to forget myself in order to love you and those you send my way.

Petition: Lord Jesus, may I do all for the glory of your name!

1. A Scalpel to My Vanity: The scribes did everything right in the eyes of men. Jesus could see that it was all a facade. Their robes were for them to be noticed. People were to pay them tribute for being men of honor. Today that same vanity is still popular. What we wear, the car we drive and the titles or letters that follow our name seem to give us our self-worth. Yet, these men of means brought nothing but condemnation upon themselves. Their position of leadership and learning placed great responsibility upon them. However, far from the great good they could do for others, they used it to take advantage of others. What deeds do I have to show for any position or learning I have?

2. Eliminating My Egotism: For whom do I live? The scribes lived for themselves. If they taught, it was to impress others. If they gave, it was to build a reputation. If they prayed, it was to justify all that they stole from the poor. They were not evil men; they were ‘good guys’. But they were driven by self-love. It explained all they did. Even if they happened to do something just, its worth was empty, for they sought themselves.

3. Behold True Charity: Against the backdrop of so much show and empty parading, Jesus sees a bright act of virtue. He sees what no one else saw. He saw someone almost ignored by everyone. The authenticity of her gift was twofold. She gave quietly, without any thought of winning praise: her gift was for God alone. And what she gave appeared small but in fact was her all, everything she owned. Pure charity is done for God and involves the gift of our entire self. Unreserved offers of service, ever ready to love and serve, when, where and as I am asked, how rare these are! How do I give? Is my charity ever hidden? In what ways do I give my entire self to God?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, free me from self-love that kills the value of my giving and assassinates my efforts to form virtue. Help me die to myself for love of others. May I never neglect anyone who needs my help. But keep my giving quiet, so that my only reward will be found in you for all eternity.

Resolution: I will do a hidden act of charity today.

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