Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass in Santa Marta


Pope’s Morning Homily: Widows Are an Image of the Church Seeking to Stay Faithful

At Casa Santa Marta, Reflects on the 2 Coins Given With Generosity


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The Church remains faithful if she keeps her eyes fixed on Jesus, but she becomes lukewarm and mediocre if she seeks comfort in worldly things. That was Pope Francis’ message today as he reflected on the Gospel reading at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis noted that the reading from St Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the widow who puts her two coins in the temple treasury box, while other wealthy worshippers make a great show of the money they’re putting in. Jesus says that “this poor widow put in more than all the rest” because the others were giving away money from their surplus wealth, while she, in her poverty, “has offered her whole livelihood.”

In the Bible, Pope Francis said, the widow is the woman who is alone, who has no husband to look after her, who has to manage on her own, who survives on charity. The widow in this Gospel passage, he said, was “a widow who had placed her trust only in the Lord.” I like to look at the widows in the Gospel, he said, as an image of the “widowed” Church who is waiting for Jesus to return.

The Church is the bride of Christ, Pope Francis said, but her Lord has gone and her only treasure is in her Lord. If the Church remains faithful, then she leaves everything while waiting for her Lord to return. If she does not have so much faith in the love of her Lord, then she tries to get by in other ways, seeking security in things that are more of this world than of God.

The widows of the Gospels, the Pope continued, speak beautifully to us about Jesus and His Church. There is the widow of Nain who was crying as she accompanied her son to be buried outside the city gates. There is the widow who goes to the unjust judge in order to defend her sons, knocking on his door every day and bothering him continuously until he delivers a just sentence for her. This is the widowed Church who prays and intercedes for her children, Pope Francis explained. But the heart of the Church is always with Jesus, the Bridegroom in heaven.

According to the desert fathers, the Pope said, our souls also resemble the Church, and the closer our souls, our lives, are to Jesus, the more we are able to avoid worldly, useless things that lead us away from Christ. While the ‘widowed’ Church waits for Jesus, he said, she can be faithful, trusting that her husband will return, or she can be unfaithful to her widowhood, a lukewarm, mediocre, worldly Church seeking comfort in other things.

In these last days of the liturgical year, Pope Francis concluded, we would do well to ask ourselves if our souls are searching for the Lord, or if they’re looking for comfort in things which do not please the Lord. Let our souls say “Come Lord Jesus! Come!” And may we leave behind all those useless things which stop us from staying faithful.

Report by Vatican Radio

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:


Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 503

Reading 1

DN 1:1-6, 8-20

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah,

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came

and laid siege to Jerusalem.

The Lord handed over to him Jehoiakim, king of Judah,

and some of the vessels of the temple of God;

he carried them off to the land of Shinar,

and placed the vessels in the temple treasury of his god.


The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain,

to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood

and of the nobility, young men without any defect,

handsome, intelligent and wise,

quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,

such as could take their place in the king’s palace;

they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans;

after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service.

The king allotted them a daily portion of food and wine

from the royal table.

Among these were men of Judah: Daniel, Hananiah,

Mishael, and Azariah.


But Daniel was resolved not to defile himself

with the king’s food or wine;

so he begged the chief chamberlain to spare him this defilement.

Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy

of the chief chamberlain, he nevertheless said to Daniel,

“I am afraid of my lord the king;

it is he who allotted your food and drink.

If he sees that you look wretched

by comparison with the other young men of your age,

you will endanger my life with the king.”

Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief chamberlain

had put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah,

Mishael, and Azariah,

“Please test your servants for ten days.

Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.

Then see how we look in comparison with the other young men

who eat from the royal table,

and treat your servants according to what you see.”

He acceded to this request, and tested them for ten days;

after ten days they looked healthier and better fed

than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.

So the steward continued to take away

the food and wine they were to receive, and gave them vegetables.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and proficiency

in all literature and science,

and to Daniel the understanding of all visions and dreams.

At the end of the time the king had specified for their preparation,

the chief chamberlain brought them before Nebuchadnezzar.

When the king had spoken with all of them,

none was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah,

Mishael, and Azariah;

and so they entered the king’s service.

In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them,

he found them ten times better

than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

Responsorial Psalm

DANIEL 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;

And blessed is your holy and glorious name,

praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,

praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you on the throne of your Kingdom,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you who look into the depths

from your throne upon the cherubim,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,

praiseworthy and glorious forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!


MT 24:42A, 44

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Stay awake!

For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


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.”

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