In the week prior to His Passion, Jesus 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).

2) In His own sacrifice on the Cross and His ongoing gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, Christ confirms the importance of self-sacrifice. Reflect on your level of self-giving sacrifice and your failure to sacrifice.  Pray for Christ to lead you to greater self-sacrifice (time, talent and treasure) for your family, friends and parish.

3) Most Catholics are not generous financial givers relative to their wealth and in comparison to other forms of Christianity. Pray for Christ to help you to become more generous and to give you the courage to give more money to your parish.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant