Readings for Monday November 22, 2010

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr

First Reading: Revelation 14:1-3, 4b-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24
Gospel: Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Lk 21:1-4)

I remember learning about today's gospel reading as a boy in Sunday school. My teachers were illustrating the point of the importance of tithing, and not holding back from God. This story has certainly always stuck with me, and today I still believe that tithing is a very important thing. However, while being good stewards of our money is certainly important, there is much more going on in this reading. This poor widow illustrates an important concept which Jesus praises ... self-donation. As Jesus says in the gospel, she "has offered her whole livelihood." This widow has emptied herself for her Lord, and does not think twice about giving all that she has. This widow is not afraid to give to God and to leave her life in His hands.

As Christians, we are called to follow Christ where ever He leads us to. I think that one of the reasons that Christ praises the act of this woman was because she models this self-donation, an act that Christ models for us on the cross. To be true disciples, we are to model ourselves after Christ, and that means being willing to empty ourself for God and for others. This is our calling.

Self-donation is certainly not easy, in fact is demands a letting go of the self-centeredness that pulls at each and every one of us. But if we remember to cling to Christ, the Lamb of God; then we too can offer our whole livelihoods for our King.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for the many gifts in our lives. Lord, be at our center, dwell in our hearts, so that we may only seek you. Lord, you are our King, may we follow no one or nothing else besides you. Help us to offer our entire lives to you, and to be good stewards of the many gifts that you give us. Lord, you are our rock and our salvation, in you alone do we trust. Amen.

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