“She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

For the last reading in Ordinary Time from Mark (12:38-44), Jesus points to the scribes specifically as worthy of condemnation for their pride and desire for adulation in public and their machinations against widows.  Jesus then notes a poor widow who puts the very little she has left into the treasury as a donation.  He commends her more than all because she gives from her want, while others give much larger amounts from their surplus (see above).    While this reading provides us an opportunity to consider the appropriateness and extent of our giving of treasure to the church and other charitable causes, it should also make us think of how we use our talents for the Church and the common good.  Most of us are not called to give our lives in direct service to the Church, as those in the priesthood and consecrated life are.  But this does not mean that we leave it to these persons to take up all the tasks that build up the Church.  It is important to ask regularly: What more can I do to advance the Kingdom through my church and other Catholic organizations?  What special talents do I have that God can use to bring the Good News to others through word and deed?  For the laity, this call to service must be balanced with work and family obligations, but we must not shy away from giving from our need, and not simply our surplus time (which seems nowadays less than ever despite — or because of — advances in technology).  As we make serving others a habit, we will see this attitude seep into all of our actions, contributing to the common good and the advancement of the Kingdom (an irreplaceable — if uncommon — good).  Do not bury your talents (cf. Mt 25:24-26) or hide them (cf. Mt 5:15), but let them shine forth for the greater glory of God and for your salvation and that of others (cf. Mt 5:16).

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