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O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
God the Father,
help us to hear the call of Christ the King
and to follow in his service,
whose kingdom has no end;
for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, one glory.
Blessed are you, the God of our ancestors.
Blessed is your holy and glorious name.
Blessed are you, in your holy and glorious temple.
You are worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.
Blessed are you who look into the depths.
Blessed are you, enthroned on the cherubim.
Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom.
Blessed are you in the heights of heaven.
You are worthy to be praised and exalted for ever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
We all like to think of ourselves as being generous. Generous with our time, with our affection, with our skills and, sometimes, with our money. Many of us are unstinting in the way we generously support our families, our friends and, sometimes, our neighbours. When our generosity is tested in a broader sense we are not always so generous though!
In today’s reading we find Jesus sitting outside the Temple treasury. In the Court of Women, which housed the Temple treasury, there were thirteen trumpet-shaped boxes which were positioned to receive the donations of those coming to worship. Despite being called the Court of Women, both sexes were allowed to enter in order that they might make their financial offerings. But, women were allowed to go no further than this court. The process of making an offering to the Temple treasury was very public, designed in a way that could not be avoided, and done in a way that made it easy for people to judge each other in matters of generosity.
On the day we read of at the beginning of Luke, chapter 21, Jesus witnessed something we should all take to heart every time we congratulate ourselves on our ‘generosity’, and the way in which we offer ourselves to others. Jesus sees the usual procession of rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow who put in two small copper coins … and … he saw into the hearts of the men and women making those offerings.
Two small copper coins represented an extremely small amount of money. Compared to the large amounts Jesus saw donated by the rich people it was hardly a drop in the ocean. However, Jesus saw things differently. Jesus saw the contempt of those who donated large amounts of money, and the overwhelming generosity of the poor widow. Those who were rich contributed out of their abundance, while the widow gave all she had to live on.
When we give to that which we consider to be a ‘good cause’ we tend to temper our ‘generosity’ with worldly caution. We do not like to leave ourselves ‘short’! We want to keep enough for ourselves … just in case that rainy day might be just around the corner. We forget Christ’s call to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, and as he has loved us.
Christ gave everything for humanity, even to the point of death. We are called to be just as generous as we journey through this earthly pilgrimage. Let us pray that we might hear and learn from the big message in today’s short reading, because our understanding of Jesus’ words may make all the difference when we are called to account for the way we have lived in this world.
Prayers of intercession
Blessed are you, eternal God, to be praised and glorified for ever.
Hear us as we pray for your holy catholic Church: make us all one, that the world may believe.
Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you: that the life of Christ may be revealed in us.
Strengthen all who minister in Christ’s name: give them courage to proclaim your Gospel.
Inspire and lead those who hold authority in the nations of the world: guide them in the ways of justice and peace.
Make us alive to the needs of our community: help us to share each other’s joys and burdens.
Look with kindness on our homes and families: grant that your love may grow in our hearts.
Deepen our compassion for all who suffer from sickness, grief or trouble: in your presence may they find their strength.
We remember those who have died: Father, into your hands we commend them.
We praise you for all your saints who have entered your eternal glory: bring us all to share in your heavenly kingdom.
Prayer for the week
Lord, you have blessed the world
by sending your Son into our midst
and by making all things new in him.
We ask you to give all people
the courage and power we need
to share fully in his mission to the world
and to further his kingdom in the lives of all,
to the honour and glory of his name.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.