Reflection: Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Kings 17:10-16; Ps.145; 2nd Reading – Hb.9:24-28; Gospel – Mk.12:38-44]


It is not the first time that Jesus criticises the scribes principally because they give a lot of attention to their appearance, and therefore make a show of themselves, while their hearts are far from God. In today’s gospel Jesus is telling his audience to be aware of these things, because it is not what is shown outwardly that counts, but what is inward…

The same theme continues through the second part of the gospel when Jesus sees a woman put two small (almost insignificant) coins in the treasury. Unlike for the rich, Jesus has words of praise for this poor widow. It is true that throughout his life Jesus had a certain preference for the poor, but the situation here is not a distinction between the rich and the poor; rather it is about the intensity put in one’s actions!!!

The woman had only these two small coins “to live on”. Most probably it would have been much better for her to keep that money and buy something for herself to live with. But she decided to put the money in the treasury of the Temple. In other words, she preferred to offer it to God. Compared to what others have put, hers is “almost nothing”. Yet, Jesus says that she has put much more than all the rich men together. The poor share what they have and what they do not have. She gave it to the Temple treasury, as if sharing it with God, and therefore it is He who will decide what to do with it. Her offering is much bigger because she is giving all she has, while the others are giving a little from the many they have. In giving the coins to God, she is also putting herself into the hands of God, because she has nothing else, while the others, in giving of their excess, still have their minds put at ease reliant on what they have not given.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the same situation as the scribes and/or this poor widow! We have to fulfil our duties, be they civil or religious. How is our participation in them? Is our presence merely a physical one, with the mind intrigued somewhere else? Or are we participating with all our being in such a way that at the end of the day we shall have gained something through our presence? We attend and “participate” in the Sacraments offered by the Church: Can we say that we truly participate or are we just immobile recipients who at the end find ourselves at the same point where we started?

The poor widow put everything in the Temple treasury. Though small, her money was everything she had, and she gave it to God… Are we ready to imitate this poor widow and give everything, or are we going to hold fast to what we have and give to God “some” of what we have? Our religious actions: Are they just a fulfilment of a precept, or something that touches our innermost self and in one way or another change our being?

“Lord, we often find ourselves grumbling about our spiritual life. We know that it is our duty to participate in the liturgy, but quite often we end up without gaining anything through our participation. Give us enough knowledge Lord to put some sense in what we do. Thank You Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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