Mark 12:41-44 Reflection: The Poor Widow

A reading from the gospel of Mark 12:41-44

41 Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
43 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.
44 For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Reflection: Two small coins

Jesus has a special concern for widows who are among the most vulnerable members of society. They have no husband to take care of them and their children. In a patriarchal society like Israel then, these women are nameless and therefore, they belong to the least and the last members of the community.

In the gospel reading above, Jesus praised a poor widow for offering her two small coins to the temple treasury. He also commented that she contributed all that she had, that means 100% of her savings. On the other hand, the rich gave large amount of money but it is their surplus, meaning an amount they actually do not need. But let us say, they gave 1% or even 10% of their savings and then compare that to the 100% offering of the widow. Obviously, the widow contributed more than the affluent people.

We can picture the poor window approaching the temple box with much humility. This is in contrast to the wealthy who perhaps marched to the box with much fanfare in order to gain attention. During that time, there were no paper money that they can wave to the spectators but maybe they allowed their coins to make a loud noise so that everybody could be notified.

How could a poor widow afford to give everything to the Lord? She had a strong faith in divine provision. She knew that even if she kept her two small coins for herself, it would not be enough for all her needs. Yet she believed that God is more than enough. She trusted in divine provision to meet the needs of her family. God was her only hope.

For sure the widow did not want to be noticed. Who can be proud to offer two small coins anyway? Yet Jesus not only noticed her but she made her the best example of how to make an offering. Without any intention at all, she is now inscribed in the Holy Scripture for all generations to read. Indeed, those who humble themselves will be exalted! (Matthew 23:12)

A small act can have a great impact. A small contribution can change the world. How many people have been inspired by the simple act of the poor widow? God does not allow the simple good acts that we do to go unnoticed. He sees everything and when the time comes, he will embrace us in His heavenly kingdom.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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