“Stay awake, for you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
Today we begin the season of Advent and with this we begin the new liturgical year. On this day, the church invites us to be ready and prepared to receive the Lord. Advent means waiting and we wait eagerly for someone we love, we care and we are ready to invest our time on him. In the liturgical calendar, the season of Advent means a joyful waiting, a waiting for Jesus prayerfully, with affection and love. There is the eagerness within us to receive him and we look forward to this great event when God becomes man. However, it is a special kind of waiting for a God who has come already, who is coming regularly into our life and who will come again at the end of time. We know that Jesus came into the world already two thousand years ago, and we remember this event with devotion. We know that he will come again at the end of time as a judge and unite the whole universe to himself. He comes daily in the sacraments and in the Eucharist in a very special way as our food and drink to strengthen us and fill us with his grace. We also prepare ourselves to celebrate the feast of Jesus Christ born among us as a human person in a stable of Bethlehem to be one with us and remind ourselves of the great work of salvation began for us.
In the gospel reading we heard we need to be prepared and stay awake because the lord would come unexpectedly. Jesus reminded the people at Noah’s time, who were absorbed in the earthly things, forgetting God totally. The great flood swept away all except the family of Noah. Today’s world not different than Noah’s time. You have that experience. In the reading, we heard about the Arch of Noah. This prefigures God’s salvific plan which would come through Jesus’ passion death and resurrection. We are saved through his great sacrifice on the cross. He is always with us. Through the Holy spirit, he helps and guides us. He gives us his courage and strength at the time we go through crisis. This helps us to be active and vigilant. Our lord Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the father and ruling the whole world. He would on the final day to judge the living and the dead.
The Second Reading is taken from the Letter of Paul to the Romans reminds us that salvation is nearer to us now. No matter how we look at it, each day is a day closer to the day when we will come face to face with the Lord Jesus. He tells them to live honourably as in the day, not in revelingand drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, they are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
32nd Sunday of the Ordinary Time B
“This poor widow has put in more than all others.”
Today’s liturgy of the word challenges us to be true disciples detaching oneself from earthly attachment and live in charity, sharing the love of God with others.
Jesus sitting opposite to the treasury at the entrance of the Temple watched many rich people making offerings of money. They were doing it in an ostentatious manner. They wanted to be seen and admired for their big contributions. While people were vying with each other to display their wealth as they put coins one by one into the box, Jesus observed in the crowd a poor widow offering only two small coins.
The attitude of that woman impressed Jesus and he wanted to show her to his disciples as a model of selfless generosity. “I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put in more than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have put in money they have in surplus, but she, from the little she has, put in everything she possessed, all she has to live on.” Jesus was moved by the widow’s readiness to give her whole livelihood, while others gave out of their surplus.
It was not the woman's poverty that made her gift significant for Jesus. For him, it was the fact that this widow, alone among all the contributors lined up to give their offerings, gave her all. The very rich put in much, and the moderately well-off put in a decent amount. But all those who had gone before this widow had limited their giving by holding back a major portion of their money for their own use. This widow stood alone as the one who had turned over, as an offering to God for His use, everything she had -- two coins. Those two, almost worthless coins represented her last shred of security, her fragile earthly thread of hope for the future. With her deep desire to be an obedient servant of God, the widow gave all she had as an offering -- even her future -- for the sake of God. In other words, she gave herself totally into God’s hands, with the sure conviction that He would give her the support she needed.
The story of another widow described in the Book of Kings is also inspiring. It tells us how God rewards your generosity, as you share your livelihood with the hungry. You will experience his infinite generosity in his providential care for you. The widow of Sarepta trusted in God, listening to Prophet Elijah’s words. She baked bread for the Prophet with the handful of flour intended for her last meal with her son at the verge of starvation death. Because of her kindness to the hungry Prophet, God did not let her jar of flour and jug of oil go empty. They were always supplying miraculously until the season of drought was over.
The second reading tells us how Jesus, as the High Priest of the New Testament, surrendered His life to God His Father totally and unconditionally as a sacrificial offering for our sins – a sacrifice far beyond the sacrifices made by the poor widows.
This weekend we are celebrating veteran’s day. Today scripture readings are very fitting for this occasion when we express our gratitude for their selfless service and sacrifices, offered for this great country and for us. In the line of duty, they didn’t think of themselves but this country, us and the world peace. In the course of service, so many of physically and psychologically harmed, even many died.
The Eucharist gives us the perfect model of self-gift in love. It should continually inspire us to live our daily lives with trust in God and commitment in service to our fellow human beings.