We are in the 32nd week in ordinary time. The readings invite us to care for others and put our trusting faith in God who loves us and wants the best for us like the widows in the first and the Gospel readings. The readings also invite us to live out our commitment to God’s service with a humble and generous heart, free from pride and prejudice.
The first reading and the Gospel today present poor widows who sacrificially gave their whole lives and means of livelihood to God, symbolizing the supreme sacrifice Jesus would offer by giving His life for others. In the reading from the First Book of Kings, a poor widow who has barely enough food for herself and her son, welcomes the prophet Elijah as a man of God. She shares her food with him and receives her reward in the form of a continuing daily supply of food. The widow is not unwilling, but tells the prophet that she has enough for only one meal for her son and herself. Here, she expresses a genuine and practical concern. Elijah, by asking her to share the little food she had for herself and her son, enables her to demonstrate her trust in God’s provision. She does as Elijah asks, and we know what happened next. Her jar of meal and the jug of oil did not go empty until the drought had ended. She had enough to feed herself and her son. This story of the widow’s provisions, like the following story of Elijah’s raising of her son from the dead when he had died, also emphasizes the power of God’s word and His continuing care for His people.
The second reading tells us how Jesus, as the High Priest of the New Testament, surrendered His life to God, His Father, totally and unconditionally as a sacrificial offering for our sins – a sacrifice far beyond the sacrifices made by the poor widows. Paul argues that Jesus Himself has replaced the whole class of ancient priests, and that the earthly sanctuary has been made obsolete by the sanctuary that is Heaven, where Jesus the High Priest intercedes for us directly before God. Similarly, the repetitive annual sacrifices have been replaced by Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice at the end of the ages. The old sacrifices were meant to forestall an unfavorable judgment by God. But, the new sacrifice in Christ is meant for the salvation of those who eagerly await Him.
In the Gospel, Jesus contrasts the external signs of honor sought by the scribes with the humble, sacrificial offering of a poor widow and declares that she has found true honor in God’s eyes. The poor widows in both the first reading and the Gospel gave away all that they possessed for the glory of God. In other words, they gave themselves totally into God’s hands, with the sure conviction that He would give them the support they needed. God blessed them. In the first reading God blessed the widow with enough food for days to come. In the Gospel, Jesus makes her a model of faith. The sacrificial self-giving of the widows in these two readings reflect God’s love in giving His only Son for us, and Christ’s love in sacrificing Himself on the cross.
The readings are a warning against self-seeking glory and remind us to develop a loving, caring and trusting heart. Our parish is blessed with so many committed people who give so much to the parish with their time, talent and treasure. They are active in the life of the parish in many ways such as participating in liturgical celebrations, choir, parish organizations, as well as visiting and serving the sick. I appreciate and thank them for their commitment to the parish and pray that the Lord may bless you and our parish with many blessings.
This Saturday, we honor our veterans and men and women on active duty. As we thank them for the sacrifices they have made, let us keep them in our prayers. November 17th is our next couples’ date night, and we will discuss Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) and reflect on scriptures that speak of love and marriage. We will conclude with a potluck. Do not miss it. See the bulletin or call the parish office for more information.
On another note, our Confirmation Level I and II students will be attending a one-day retreat at Our Lady of Light Church, in Descanso on Saturday, November 17th. There will be over 50 young men and women attending this retreat. They will conclude the retreat here in the church with the 4:30 pm Mass. Please keep our Confirmation children in your prayers that they may have a deeper experience with God.