Mark in his Gospel this week raises the poor widow to a privileged place in the telling of the story of Jesus. Jesus comes to Jerusalem to meet his fate, and he now gives his final instructions concerning the discipleship to which he is calling those who wish to follow him. Using the widow’s example, he goes to the very heart of the matter – yes, it’s giving that counts.
Is there any more telling way of expressing the fundamental truth that having been made in the image of God, we witness to this by the unselfish gift of ourselves to others? The most precious things in life – in our family, in the community in which we live – these things will flourish to the extent that we are prepared to practise self-forgetfulness. Life teaches us that it is a ‘giving that costs us something’ that brings real happiness and fulfilment to ourselves and to those around us.
Mark is therefore linking the generous gift of the widow with the great drama of God’s generosity, soon to take place – as Jesus gives himself into the hands of his Father for the sake of the whole human family. Our liturgy each week takes up this lesson for, at every mass, we become participants in the greatest act of self – gift – that of Jesus to his Father.