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From: Mark 12:38-44

Jesus Censures the Scribes

[38] And in His (Jesus’) teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to
go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places [39] and the
best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, [40] who devour
widow’s houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the grea-
ter condemnation.”

The Widow’s Mite

[41] And He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting
money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor
widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And He
called His disciples to Him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor wi-
dow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. [44] For
they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in
everything she had, her whole living.”


38-40. Our Lord reproves disordered desire for human honors: “We should notice
that salutations in the marketplace are not forbidden, nor people taking the best
seats if that befits their position; rather, the faithful are warned to avoid, as they
would evil men, those who set too much store by such honors” (St. Bede, “In
Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.”). See also notes on Matthew 23:2-3, 5, 11
and 14.

41-44. Our Lord uses this little event to teach us the importance of things which
apparently are insignificant. He puts it somewhat paradoxically; the poor widow
has contributed more than all the rich. In God’s sight the value of such an action
lies more in upright intention and generosity of spirit than in the quantity one gives.
“Didn’t you see the light in Jesus’ eyes as the poor widow left her little alms in the
temple? Give Him what you can: the merit is not in whether it is big or small, but
in the intention with which you give it” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 829).

By the same token, our actions are pleasing to God even if they are not as per-
fect as we would like. St. Francis de Sales comments: “Now as among the trea-
sures of the temple, the poor widow’s mite was much esteemed, so the least lit-
tle good works, even though performed somewhat coldly and not according to the
whole extent of the charity which is in us, are agreeable to God, and esteemed
by Him; so that though of themselves they cannot cause and increase in the ex-
isting love [...] yet Divine Providence, counting on them and, out of His goodness,
valuing them, forthwith rewards them with increase in charity for the present, and
assigns to them a greater Heavenly glory for the future” (St. Francis de Sales,
“Treatise on the Love of God”, Book 3, Chapter 2).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 11/10/2012 8:36:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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5 posted on 11/10/2012 8:39:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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