Pope Francis on November 11, 2018, drew a sharp contrast between a wealthy scribe and a poor widow, stressing that Jesus clearly said that God is on the side of the lear, the poor and the weak.
The Holy Father’s “scribe vs. widow” commentary came before praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of some 20,000 pilgrims gather in St. Peter’s Square. He referred to the day’s gospel from the 12th chapter of Mark, in which a scribe is proud of his donations to the synagogue, which the poor widow gives just two coins – but all she has.
“Jesus unmasks this perverse mechanism: He denounces the oppression of the weak made instrumentally on the basis of religious motivations, saying clearly that God is on the side of the least,” Pope Francis said. “And to impress this lesson thoroughly in the disciples’ mind, He gives them a living example: a poor widow, whose social position was insignificant, because she didn’t have a husband who could defend her rights and therefore became an easy prey of an unscrupulous creditor, because these creditors persecuted the weak to make them pay.
“This woman, who puts only two coins in the Temple’s treasury, all that she had left, makes her offering, hoping to go unnoticed, almost embarrassed. However, in this humility, she, in fact, carries out an act charged with the religious and spiritual meaning. That gesture, full of sacrifice doesn’t escape Jesus’ attentive gaze who rather sees shine in it the total gift of self, to which He wants to educate His disciples.”
The Holy Father explained that God doesn’t judge someone’s sacrifice by the dollar amount, but what is in the person’s heart. What do they give to help others and how are they motivated? In saving us, Jesus made us free – and “we must do things as an expression of gratuitousness”.
“See why Jesus points out that poor and generous widow as a model of Christian life to imitate. We don’t know her name, but we know her heart — we will certainly find her in Heaven and will go to greet her — and that’s what counts before God.
“When we are tempted by the desire to appear and to be taken into account for our altruistic gestures, when we are too interested in other’s look and — allow me the word — when we are like “peacocks,” let us think of this woman. It will do us good: it will help us to strip ourselves of the superfluous to go to what really counts, and to remain humble.”