Saturday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Staking ourselves in faith 

In the course of his teaching he said, “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.” Mc 12,38-44

This page from the Gospel shows like no other the dividing line between those who, like the scribes, play with faith, and those who, like this widow, “stake herself in faith”. The scribes know the Scriptures, they talk about them constantly to show their ability to penetrate their meaning, and enjoy the fact that they are important people “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 easily accept the word of God, but it does not take root inside them, like the seed in the parable of the sower, which falls among the stones, thistles and on the road. Indeed, they often use the wisdom of life that comes from the Scriptures to make a bid for a higher social status. They feel free from the duty of throwing money into the “treasury”, which is the collection of offerings for the temple, where they like to walk “puffed up and pompous”, as grandfather Renzo used to say. Maybe the rich young man, who did not follow Jesus because he was too wealthy, is among those who “have all contributed from their surplus wealth”. The poor widow, however, has contributed with “all she had, her whole livelihood”, she has thrown her own life there. In her, the seed of the sower fell on good soil and brings about an abundant harvest. She belongs to the group of those who hear the word of God, preserve it in their hearts, patiently wait for it to take root and then start to carry out the plan of life which the Lord has given them. Brother Ettore has staked his life among the homeless in Milan, our friend Damiano Guzzetti has become a Comboni missionary and is now in Uganda, Angela Crippa has left her job as a nurse and went to cure the poor of Brazil, Gianluca is giving his best years to the Africans who arrive in Italy, and others have married and constituted a Christian family, welcoming the children that the Lord sends them. This is the Kingdom growing in those who stake their life in faith.

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