Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Mark 12:38-44
In his teaching Jesus said,
Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.
He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal.
A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny.
Then he called his disciples and said to them, I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.
Holy Mass Readings on 11 November 2012, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B:
1st Reading: 1 Kings 17:10-16 (see Encouragements-126)
Responsorial: Psalm 146: 6-10 (see Encouragements-18)
2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:24-18 (see above)
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:38-44 (see above)
We have extracted the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI given in 2009 based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you:
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Paul VI Square - Brescia, Italy
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have great joy in being able to break the Bread of the Word of God and of the Eucharist with you here, in the heart of the Diocese of Brescia, where the Servant of God Giovanni Battista Montini, Pope Paul VI was born and educated in his youth. I greet you all with affection and thank you for your warm welcome! In particular I thank Bishop Luciano Monari, for his words to me at the beginning of the celebration and with him I greet the Cardinals, Bishops, priests and deacons, the men and women religious and all the pastoral workers. I thank the Mayor for his words and his gift, and the other civil and military Authorities. I address a special thought to the sick who have gathered in the Cathedral.
At the heart of the Liturgy of the Word this Sunday the 32nd in Ordinary Time we find the figure of the poor widow or, more precisely, we find her gesture when she dropped her last coins into the collection box of the Temple treasury. Thanks to Jesus' attentive look it has become the proverbial "widow's mite" and indeed is synonymous with the generosity of those who give unsparingly the little they possess. However, I would like first of all to emphasize the importance of the atmosphere in which this Gospel episode takes place, that is, the Temple of Jerusalem, the religious centre of the People of Israel and the heart of its whole life. The Temple was the place of public and solemn worship, but also of pilgrimage, of the traditional rites and of rabbinical disputations such as those recorded in the Gospel between Jesus and the rabbis of that time in which, however, Jesus teaches with unique authority as the Son of God. He judges the scribes severely as we have heard because of their hypocrisy: indeed, while they display great piety they are exploiting the poor, imposing obligations that they themselves do not observe. Indeed, Jesus shows his affection for the Temple as a house of prayer but for this very reason wishes to cleanse it from improper practices; actually he wants to reveal its deepest meaning which is linked to the fulfillment of his own Mystery, the Mystery of his death and Resurrection, in which he himself becomes the new and definitive Temple, the place where God and man, the Creator and his creature, meet.
The episode of the widow's mite fits into this context and leads us, through Jesus' gaze itself, to focus our attention on a transient but crucial detail: the action of the widow, who is very poor and yet puts two coins into the collection box of the Temple treasury. Jesus is saying to us too, just as he said to his disciples that day: Pay attention! Take note of what this widow has done, because her act contains a great teaching; in fact, it expresses the fundamental characteristic of those who are the "living stones" of this new Temple, namely the total gift of themselves to the Lord and to their neighbour; the widow of the Gospel, and likewise the widow in the Old Testament, gives everything, gives herself, putting herself in God's hands for others. This is the everlasting meaning of the poor widow's offering which Jesus praises; for she has given more than the rich, who offer part of what is superfluous to them, whereas she gave all that she had to live on (cf. Mark 12: 44), hence she gave herself.
Dear friends, starting with this Gospel icon I would like to meditate briefly on the mystery of the Church, the living Temple of God, and thereby pay homage to the memory of the great Pope Paul VI who dedicated his entire life to the Church. The Church is a real spiritual organism that prolongs in space and time the sacrifice of the Son of God, an apparently insignificant sacrifice in comparison with the dimensions of the world and of history but in God's eyes crucial. As the Letter to the Hebrews says and also the text we have just heard Jesus' sacrifice offered "once" sufficed for God to save the whole world (cf. Hebrews 9: 26, 28), because all the Love of the Son of God made man is condensed in that single oblation, just as all the widow's love for God and for her brethren is concentrated in this woman's action; nothing is lacking and there is nothing to add. The Church, which is ceaselessly born from the Eucharist, from Jesus' gift of self, is the continuation of this gift, this superabundance which is expressed in poverty, in the all that is offered in the fragment. It is Christ's Body that is given entirely, a body broken and shared in constant adherence to the will of its Head.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of Gods encouragements to all of us.
17 November 2012
Extracted from the sermon- the Hebrews 9:24-28
It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf.
And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began.
Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself.
Since men only die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.