The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday for the 34th Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 21:1-4. 

In the week prior to His Passion, Christ cleared the Temple of desecrating sellers and moneychangers (“robbers”), corrected the attacking Jewish leaders on various topics and condemned the scribes for “devour[ing] widow’s houses.”  In direct response to the scribes’ greed and exploitation of widows, Christ offers the enduring teaching of the importance of faith and generosity using the heroic action of the poor widow. 

During the Incarnation, Jews presented all types of offerings (grains, money, animals) for thanksgiving and sacrifice at the Temple. Jews offered a perpetual holocaust (to be wholly consumed by fire) offering to God in the Temple; through His Crucifiction, Christ replaces, perfects and extends this ritual with His Real Presence in His Body and Blood that resides in the Tabernacle in every Catholic parish.  

Christ confirms the essential requirement of financial sacrifice for the faith by calling attention to the poor widow’s sacrifice.  The poor widow, perhaps emulating the sacrifices of the poor widow Mary the Mother of Christ, gives the two smallest Jewish coins (today: two pennies) to the Temple treasury box. Christ lifts the poor woman’s sacrifice up as heroic: the poor widow gives “all the living she had”, a spectacular demonstration of faith and generosity.  

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ has powerful and accurate insights into the behaviors of the men and women He created. Divine Teacher, Christ sees and uses “real-time” examples to spontaneously teach eternal truths in accessible and  memorable ways. Son of Man, Christ understands the day-to-day life of poverty and sacrifice. Son of Mary, Christ recalls and admires the sacrifices the Divine Mother made for Him, St. Joseph and the whole world.  

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) With the pandemic of radical feminism, sexualization, the destruction of marriage and the loss of traditional virtue, many men have lost the vision of self-sacrificing manhood. Reflect on Christ’s courageous, self-sacrificing love and His repeated defense and uplifting of vulnerable women (the widow, the Woman at the Well, the Woman caught in adultery, His Mother at the Cross).  

2) Christ praises the poor widow’s powerful faith in God which compels her to give all of what little money she has to God. Reflect upon the need for Poverty of the Heart (CCC 2544-2547, 2556) and pray for Christ to give you humility that recognizes your absolute dependence on Him.  

3) By praising the poor widow’s contribution to the Temple, Christ confirms the need for men to generously support the Church; sadly, many Catholic parishes struggle because Catholic men are stingy. Review the obligation for men to Financially Support the Church (CCC 2043, 1350-1351, 1438) and pray for Christ to compel you to give generously to His Church out of gratitude for your many blessings.