32nd Sunday Ordinary Time

Do not be afraid. These are the words that God‘s prophet Elijah says to the widow. She is running out of food for herself and for her son. She thinks that she will consume what little remains and then she and her son will die. There is a famine in the land and they do not have water or food. God sends his prophet Elijah to the widow. Elijah tells the widow that God will provide her and her son nourishment. Interestingly, Elijah tells her to feed him first and then make something for herself and her son. His words come true. God provides nourishment for a year, until the famine breaks and the rains come again to nourish the land.

The activity of God is revealed , made present, in this Scripture story. First of all you have someone who looks around and sees nothing but challenge, hardship, and limitation. There is a famine in the land and a famine in her spirit – she sees no care or presence from God. The widow is resolved to give up. Precisely when she needs help most, God sends help. I think the very powerful message is despite our circumstances, and no matter our own needs, we still must not be entirely consumed with self- focus. God calls us to trust. God calls us to generosity. God calls us to care for others as He cares for us.

This certainly is echoed in today’s Gospel. Jesus points out that it is the poor widow who gives the most.

This seems to be to messages of today’s paired readings from the Old Testament and from the Gospel. We are told to rely upon God. We are told to not be afraid. “Do not be afraid” , says Elisha the messenger of God. Jesus says this many times in the Gospels. Whether calming a stormy sea, curing the blind, or even conquering death itself, Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid.” Trust God. God will provide. We are called to then imitate God by caring for others.

How generous are we with God? This does not mean financial contribution. Rather, think of it in terms of what you give God from your spirit. What amount of time in your day do you give it to God? Do you spend time in prayer? Do you dedicate your thoughts of the day to God? Do you dedicate your actions of the day to God? You can start each day by saying, “I give this day to you Lord.”

And what do we give to others? Do we give them generously of our attention? Do we give generously of our patience? Do we give generously of our kindness? Do we give generously of our affirmation? Do we give generously of our gratitude?

Today let us trust and rely upon the God who nourishes us who saves us. He does what seems to be impossible. And let us give to God all that we have. Let us give our mind and our heart. Let us give to others what they need most to nourish their souls – caring for others as God cares for us.

First Reading
1 Kgs 17:10-16

The widow made a little cake from her flour and gave it to Elijah.

A reading from the first Book of Kings

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
   a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
   “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
   “Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives,
   I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
   and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
   to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
   when we have eaten it, we shall die.”
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
   ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
   nor the jug of oil run dry,
   until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’”
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
   the jar of flour did not go empty,
   nor the jug of oil run dry,
   as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. :

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
  or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD keeps faith forever,
   secures justice for the oppressed,
   gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
  or:
R. Alleluia.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
   the LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
The LORD loves the just.
   the LORD protects strangers.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
  or:
R. Alleluia.

The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
   but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
   your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.

R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
  or:
R. Alleluia.


Second Reading
Heb 9:24-28

Christ was offered once to take away the sins of many.

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
   a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
   that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
   as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
   with blood that is not his own;
   if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
   from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
   to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
   and after this the judgment,
   so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many,
   will appear a second time, not to take away sin
   but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.


Acclamation before the Gospel
Mt 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Gospel
Mk 12:38-44 or 12:41-44

This poor widow put in more than all the others.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

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.”

Or: [Shorter Form]

Jesus 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.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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