Home Community Sunday Gospel Thoughts November 7, 2021, 32nd Ordinary Sunday

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    Mk 12:38-44 or 12:41-44
    In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
    “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
    and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
    seats of honor in synagogues,
    and places of honor at banquets.
    They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
    recite lengthy prayers.
    They will receive a very severe condemnation.”
    He sat down opposite the treasury
    and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
    Many rich people put in large sums.
    A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
    Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
    “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
    than all the other contributors to the treasury.
    For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
    but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
    her whole livelihood.”


    One of the challenges in re-reading or re-hearing a scripture text often is that when we do this, it seems we read less and recognize more. We assume the worlds mean what we have always thought they mean, so we read less and recognize more. We glide over the familiar words. Or, to be more particular, we glide over familiar presumptions, and so, with time, we aren’t reading what is there, we’re reading what we think is there. (Paraphrase of Padraig O Tuama)


    Don’t know where else to put this.

    While I was out on my balcony just now to take the flag down, I paused for a few minutes and looked around at everything – trees, grass, clouds, birds, sky, etc – and had a deep sense or experience of “isness” — everything just is. We are too limited and paltry in our ideas of God. Ideas don’t go anywhere near the reality of God, yet we try to impose them on God, and insist only we know God. This is the god we create for ourselves, the god we would impose on everybody, even on God. Perhaps God can be “known” through experience. God cannot be known through thought or logical exercise. Whatever our ideas of God are, they are not God, and they can get in the way, but they are the only place we can begin to let go and become aware of our being in God.


    IN the first part of the Gospel Story Jesus criticizes those who reduce the Covenant to a system of rules. They can the judge and criticize others. In the second part, Jesus talks about what he was his followers to be like, which is very different from the temple system people. The widow gives all she has because she thinks it is the right thing to do, trusting that God will take care of her. This is similar to the story of the widow in the First Reading.

    This Story is not necessarily about money, but about trusting in God when we do something that we believe is right. This involves something called discernment, a prayer consideration of what we are thinking of doing, open to what the Spirit is guiding us to. It is important to know that when we do this, it does not mean others will agree with us, especially with the current polarization of country and church. The odds are that whatever we do, some may not like it and can make our life difficult. Our primary goal is to be open to the Spirit, and then ask the courage to act.

    Everywhere there are good people doing this, taking unpopular actions to do what they think is right.

    It is important to remember that following Jesus and trying to be open to the Spirit is not a spectator sport, matter of knowing the rues and right words, but often a call to action, a call to help someone or address a problem or situation that is hurting people. This happens every day.

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