Sunday Breakfast with the Word 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time of the Year B
1 Kings 17:10-16, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44
Trust is simply a conviction in the ability of somebody or something. Oxford Dictionary says it is simply having confidence in somebody, to believe that somebody is good, honest, and sincere, and you can rely on him or her.
When somebody says I trust you; it simply shows that He has strong confidence in the person. He knows what he/she can and cannot do.
I remembered the day I attended a send-forth party organized by a school. The Principal called up a student to give a speech which was quite impromptu.
I told the principal to scrape off the welcome speech or do it by himself but he immediately responded to me that he trusted the student in question and to my surprise, the student did not disappoint.
The Principal has a deep trust in his abilities, qualities, confidence, and intelligence. Trust entails knowing and believing what one can do.
This is exactly the picture of what happened in the readings of today. Trust in God involves deep confidence in His love, provision and mercy.
It involves deep conviction that His promises will surely come to pass. Whoever trusts in God is already a child of blessing.
There are times when we find ourselves in the midst of lack and it seems that God has forsaken us. There are moments, we may be tempted to lose hope in God because of what is happening around us.
We may immediately lose hope and even lose faith. In the readings of today, God demonstrates His love even in the midst of no-hope conditions.
That we lack something, does not mean that God lacks it. That we are now in a serious problem we do not know how to solve, does not mean that God cannot.
We have many reasons to trust God. Even when you do not trust the situation, trust God, who is handling the situation.
Even when we do not know what to do, remember we have a supernatural God who can do all things. Therefore, let us trust God at all times even in the midst of no-hope situations.
In the first reading, God sends Elijah the Prophet to Sidon, to the widow of Zarephath. And when he reached the city gate, He saw the widow gathering sticks.
Elijah asks the woman to ‘give him a little water in a vessel to drink.’ While she went to bring it, Elijah says to her again, to give him a scrap of bread.
The woman tells Elijah that she has no baked bread, but only a handful of meals in a jar and a little oil in a jug.
In Fact, she is just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare for herself and her son to eat, and then wait to die.’
Elijah could not understand the situation of this woman. He continues to ask her for that.
The question here today is “what is giving Elijah such confidence? What if after promising this woman, then nothing happened.
The point here is that Elijah focuses on God’s providence. He focuses and trusts that God will make something happen despite the lack. Therefore, He teaches us to focus on God’s providence to make things happen even though every situation has proven otherwise.
When God was sending Elijah to Zarephath of Sidon to sojourn with a poor widow during the “great famine,” when the “heaven was shut up three years and six months” ( Luke 4:26; 1 Kings 17:10 ), how could Elijah just accept that?
Why not tell God to send him to a wealthy man or rich person in the town. How is Elijah sure that a poor widow will take care of Him in the midst of the famine?
Sending him to a poor widow, at a time of great famine would have been the greatest punishment of all times.
Therefore, God would have sent Elijah to a wealthy man in the town or sent manna from heaven as usual.
In essence, I was expecting Elijah to ask God “why me? Why to a widow and at this time of suffering? Oh no? God, you hate me. But Elijah looked beyond these and trusted the One who was sending him, and something good came out of it.
How many of us have been sent to a place they do not want, a school they do not intend to study, a course they think is dry, and they become sad?
How many of us have been surrounded by depressing situations, and yet forget to look beyond and focus on the One who is steering the wheel?
When we encounter a crisis, do we believe that God can do something out of it or do we believe that what we see presently is how it will end?
The point is that only God knows the reason for every situation. Only God knows why you are where you are. We have to look beyond where we are to the One holding our palms.
I salute Elijah’s trust, to the extent he was so confident that God will not disappoint him. He is also teaching us to do the same. Another person on the line is the widow of Zarephath. Let us talk about her.
The Widow’s Faith
Sincerely, I have been puzzled at the reason God sent Elijah to a widow, who is also in need. Maybe God wanted to use Elijah to change the conditions of this woman, for I know there may be other avenues to feed Elijah. Secondly, if I am not mistaken that woman must have been a giver.
There must be a special virtue in the woman that attracted God to her because I know she might not be the only widow in the town and not even the only poor person in Israel, so why her? She must have been generous.
The reason I said this is that the woman would have told Elijah to leave her vicinity; she might have paid deaf ears to Elijah’s request.
By welcoming Elijah and rushing to give him water, shows the type of person she is. Her attitude to Elijah first of all projected her hidden qualities.
She is very generous. This woman also teaches us to always be generous.
Something struck me when I read where Elijah said that her pot will never run dry; oh my God, imagine a beggar telling me my Pot will never run dry, and then why not do it for yourself?
Elijah told her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said.
Elijah even told her to, first of all, do for Him before making for her own and her child. Imagine. but dispute all these, she accepted the word of Elijah when He says For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:
“Jar of meal shall not be spent,
jug of oil shall not be emptied,
before the day when the Lord sends
rain on the face of the earth.”’
Therefore, she believed in the word of God. She trusted in what God said. The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The first reading says that “The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah”.
Therefore, when God says something it must surely come to pass. Therefore, We have to always believe in God’s word.
In a time of lack, the word of God should be our guide, when we give or when we want to give, we do it because God says we should.
Finally, the woman is a giver. Despite her condition, she was able to give even the little she has. She knows she has nothing, then in the midst of that, Elijah comes to beg. But this woman looked beyond these and trusted in what God said. She trusted in God’s providence (for Elijah says in verse 14 that this is the word of the Lord….) and this, coupled with her generosity, changed her condition.
Therefore, let nothing stop us from giving. Be a giver all the time. Be generous.
Like what happened to this woman, what we give today, maybe what may save us tomorrow. The good thing we do today may be what will make way for us in future.
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.
Therefore, let us always trust in God’s providence, who gives us gifts to give others.
The Widow gives all
In the gospel, Jesus gladdens at what a poor widow did. She gave all she had. Somebody that gave all she had, what was she thinking? Does she want to starve? Don’t you think she is out of her mind? Where can she get the money to feed? Even to transport herself back?
This woman must have been motivated by something, it is not all about giving or giving from the heart, she knew deep inside her heart that she is giving all she had to God.
This may not be the first time she is doing this. That woman must have trusted in God completely.
This is also what we can see in the heart of the little Isaac in Genesis 22:8 when Abraham replied to him that God will provide the lamb for sacrifice not knowing he is to be the victim of the sacrifice. Isaac would have laughed off the joke.
For me, it is a joke. How can you say God will provide, will God send lamb from heaven? But young Isaac never questioned the father. Therefore, faith expressed here is not just for Abraham alone but for Isaac.
The woman who gave all she had knows who she was giving her offering, not just to any person but God. Thus, she exercised complete trust and gave all she had. That was what gladdened the heart of Jesus.
The point here is that our generosity is not the measure of how much we give, but from the heart that gives.
In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul says “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God can make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work”.
1. If you want to serve, work or do something for God, do it out of complete faith and confidence in God, not grudgingly nor because of the demands of a certain position or responsibility, do not just give and hope to receive in return. The God we serve looks at the heart and will never forsake your good deeds.
When we want to help people, do not help because of a selfish intention or what we want to achieve. Let what we do come from the heart. God appreciates such gestures.
2. Secondly, what we do should be all for God. Do not just give for anyone to praise you, do not give because you are giving for a church project, give because of the faith you have in God.
Let us Give that it is God that we are offering our gift. Whenever you are at the place of work, do not complain whether something is coming out or not; give all you have: your talents, energy, and time because you are doing it for God, and He will never forsake you. Let the love and confidence you have in God motivate all you do.
3. We can see that the offering of the poor widow gladdened the heart of Jesus; the charitable gesture of the woman of Zarephath changed her condition. These people looked beyond their present conditions. They looked beyond what they saw and hoped in God.
Therefore, let us look beyond what you see now, look beyond your present predicament to the One Who loves and provides for you, just like Elijah, the widow of Zarephath and the poor widow did. Such gladdens the heart of God. They trusted in God’s providence and God didn’t disappoint. So always trust in God.
4. Jesus praises the widow, then after He calls His disciples to himself to tell them that the woman gave all she had. Calling His disciples to Himself has an implication. The point is that Jesus is using this opportunity to ask His disciples to emulate the virtue of the woman.
Therefore, this tallies with the greatest commandment in mark 12:30. To love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind. In essence, we have to give God all. God takes all. God should be the motivating factor behind all that we do.
5. By saving His servant from famine, God saved the widow of Zarephath from imminent death. By giving all she had, the widow won the heart of Jesus in the gospel. Therefore, the little act of generosity that we do today, can open doors of blessings for us. Do not stop doing good.
6. The generosity of the two poor widows who give all they had from the temple treasure stands in sharp contrast with the greed of those Pharisees and the scribes who devour the savings of the widows as Jesus points out in the gospel.
Her gesture is an encouragement to all of us who think we have nothing to give, those who think they are born to receive and not to help, and many who feel they cannot contribute anything.
Today, Jesus teaches us that even the little we can give can move mountains.
Therefore, the amount is not what matters but the heart that gives. It also teaches that instead of using our positions to embezzle funds and loot public resources, let us use them for the salvation of souls.
Our leaders should know that what they are is an opportunity given to them by God to serve the community and save lives. They are not for honour and personal profit.
7. Finally, it is not all about money. We can also give God our time, energy, strength, talent, treasure, gift, etc. Let everything that we do be for God, and when we work for God, let it be from the deepest part of our hearts.
Therefore, do not lose hope in the time of lack and no-hope conditions but trust in His providence. He gives the graces, the strength, provision and even people who can be there for us when all hope is lost.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to trust in His providence. May He never allow you to lack. Amen.