Have you seen how that imposing building was built? One brick upon another. Thousands. But, one by one. And bags of cement, one by one. And blocks of stone, each of them insignificant compared with the massive whole. And beams of steel. And men working, the same hours, day after day... - St Josemaria Escriva
Gospel Text: (LK 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.”
Today’s gospel reminded me of an anecdote in Mother Teresa’s life,
as narrated by herself:
I was once walking down the street and a beggar came to me and said, “Mother Teresa, everybody’s giving to you. Today, for the whole day, I got only twenty-nine paise and I want to give it to you”. I thought for a moment: if I take it, he will have nothing to eat tonight; and if I don’t take it, it will hurt him. So I put out my hand and took the money. I have never seen such a joy on anybody’s face as I saw on his —that a beggar, too, could give to Mother Teresa. It was a big sacrifice for that poor man who’d been sitting in the sun all day and had only received twenty-nine paise. It was beautiful: twenty-nine paise is such a small amount and I can get nothing with it, but as he gave it up and I took it, it became like thousands because it was given with so much love. [Mother Teresa. A Simple Path, Ballasting books, New York 1995, pp. 99-100]
Our own contributions would hardly make a dent in God’s kingdom’s budget, but giving of what we have –and more importantly of what we are– is not irrelevant at all. Sometimes the awareness of the limited effect of our contribution can trick us into thinking that it is not worth doing. Knowing that we will not solve all the problems of all the people could have the lethal effect of freezing us into inactivity. The poor widow did not allow that to happen to her.
Can we trust that our contribution is relevant, even if it does not solve all the problems of all the people?