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Bible reflection: ‘This poor widow has put in more than all’

04 June 2020

In this week’s Bible reflection we consider the nature of generosity.

Gospel reading: 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.’


  • What do you think of the widow’s generosity?
  • What about the attitude of the scribes?
  • Whose actions do you most identify with?

Reflection from

Saturday 6 June 2020
St Norbert; St Marcellin Champagnat
2 Timothy 4:1-8. I will sing of your salvation – Psalm 70(71):8-9, 14-17, 22. Mark 12:38-44.

‘The poor widow has put in more than all’

Today we celebrate the feast of St Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers. Through education, the Marist brothers brought young people out of poverty, improved lives and shared faith. How much did Marcellin’s early experience of illiteracy and adversity inspire him to establish this order of compassionate men? It is said that his encounter with the poor, illiterate teenager Jean Baptiste was a motivator give his life to teaching, and to encourage the same vocation in others.

As with Marcellin, the widow in Mark’s Gospel has the heart to generously give what she can barely afford. She knows what it means to have literally nothing, where even the smallest offering is significant. To experience deprivation in this way can be a motivator, make a person hungry to make a difference. It can be a pathway to generosity, where what little we have is given without hesitation or condition. The widow’s gift came from love, as did Marcellin’s life of education. May we draw on such a spirit of generosity.


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