Homily

In today's readings from the first book of Kings and in the Gospel according to Mark, we have examples of extravagant love for neighbors. In 1Kings we have a story of Elijah, the prophet who had to leave town because King Ahab and Queen Jezebel didn't appreciate being told that there would be a drought and famine because of their evil deeds. In Elijah's exile he met a widow who was gathering sticks for a fire. He asked her for a drink of water and a little bread. The widow told him she only had a little flour and oil with which she was going to make some bread for herself and her son and then having no more food, she expected that she and her son would starve to death but she was willing to share that small amount of food with Elijah.

In the Gospel we heard of Jesus' condemning the Scribes, the Lay Theologians of that time for their showing off with fancy cloths and the like, their false pride and their taking advantage of widows by cheating them out of their homes. In contrast Jesus praised a poor widow who gave her last penny to the Temple treasury.

The question is why in the world would these two widows be so extravagantly generous, having little regard for their own lives by sharing their last food and their last penny? The only valid answer is love and trust, that is, love for their neighbor and trust in God. In 1Kings the widow was living the 2nd great Commandment, Love your Neighbor as yourself and both of the widows knew Psalm 146, and were willing to live the teachings in it and were willing to give until it hurts.

In contrast, many in our world today aren't willing to do that but rather believe in "the survival of the fittest", that is, believing that they must develop their own strengths by focusing only on their own wants and priorities. Of course that wasn't true for the two widows in today's Scriptures but rather, they had the belief that they and each of us are required to live the Commandments and the other important instructions in Scripture such as those in Psalm 146.

Just like those two widows, Jesus didn't focus on his personal needs, did a great job in summarizing the important teachings in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, living them and calling all of his disciples, of which we all are part, to do the same.

Back to the concept of "Survival of the Fittest". Who would you say is the most fit person in all of history, whose teachings, legacy, and example have survived for over 2000 years and will for all eternity. The obvious answer is, Jesus. Not only that but he was a happy man just as is true for all people who follow his example. We are called to be his disciples and follow his example by doing God's work here on earth such as that included in Psalm 146, giving justice to the poor, food to the hungry, setting prisoners free, healing the blind, helping anyone who falls, looking after strangers and defending the rights of orphans and widows.

Like I said, that's God's work and in that God isn't physically here on earth, God has delegated that work to us. As Imperfect as we are, we are the only hands, feet and voice God has so the results aren't always without problems However accomplishing those tasks to the best of our ability is the way God planned and we are called to both love and trust God just as the widows did in today's scriptures.

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