Faith and Family

Faith and Family for November 7: The Poor Widow's Contribution


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. 


UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM

At my inner-city parish we do our Sunday offering a bit differently perhaps than you might in your parish. Because our congregation is small–usually less than a hundred people–we don’t pass baskets. Instead, we have a beautiful silver urn placed near the sanctuary. As the gifts are being prepared for the Eucharist, people come forward to place their offerings in this vessel.

Since many of our parishioners are not wealthy—in fact, some are very poor—the scene at our Sunday liturgy is much like what Jesus witnesses in today’s Gospel. There, rich and poor place offerings in the temple treasury. It’s a poor widow who catches the Lord’s eye—her gift carries greater value than all the rest since she gave from her poverty, not her surplus. Like the Old Testament story today of a suffering widow who shares with the prophet Elijah, both stories emphasize prioritizing—a “Kingdom theme” we find in these Scriptures near the end of the Church year.

I don’t like to preach on money or beg for financial help in my ministry, but I have to do it sometimes. It’s important for each of us in the community to share generously in order for our local Church—as well as the global Church—to do the work of the Kingdom. As you make your offering today, I invite you to reflect on Jesus’ call to generosity.


DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM

According to the first reading (1Kgs 17:10-16), during a famine, the prophet Elijah went to Zarephath and asked a poor widow for a drink of water and some bread. She tells him she has just a little flour and oil for herself and her son.

Elijah tells her that the Lord, the God of Israel will provide flour and cooking oil.  Then what happened?

We hear in the second reading (Heb 9:24-28), that Jesus died once for the sins of all. When was that? Where?

He will come now to those who await his second coming. What will he give them?

In this week’s Gospel, (Mk 12:38-44), Jesus gives a warning about the teachers of the Law (the scribes) who are taking the money of widows and recite lengthy prayers. What is wrong with them?

Jesus sits opposite to the temple treasury. He observes that the rich give big sums of money, but he praises the poor widow who gives a couple pennies, all she had. Why did Jesus do that? What was he teaching his disciples about?


Bake a cake, as the woman in the first reading did for Jesus.

Place a jar somewhere and have everyone in the family put extra change in it for a determined length of time. At the end, donate the money to either your parish or to an organization that your family supports.

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