Paul continues to advise and encourage Timothy in today’s first reading. Paul, in prison, gleans from his many years of ministry, preaching, praying, settling disputes, challenging the complacent, arguing with the stubborn, receiving the repentant, leading the flock God had given him to shepherd. Paul is full of wisdom and experience, which he tries to impart to young Timothy. It makes sense to Paul, probably not as much to Timothy at the beginning of his own journey. Wise people tend to do that. Even wiser people will know when silence and presence and availability and patience and encouragement is more productive than unsolicited advice. But they do it anyway. Maybe when we’re ready, we can read their writings and benefit from their wisdom. Thank God it’s written down and preserved somewhere. Wisdom is also knowing when to ask for help. We are not inclined to do that when we think we can succeed on our own. And then we realize otherwise. But that too is wisdom.
Jesus is sitting in the temple treasury, warning against those who would take advantage of the vulnerable especially widows. A widow is typically a wise woman who has had her share of experience, having lived with her husband, organized and orchestrated the running of a household, raised a family, worked hard to keep them fed, healthy, safe, and warm. After a lifetime of experience, a widow is probably wiser than most, knowing her value, her role in the lives of others, where God fits in the picture. She is not naive. She is not easily fooled. But some widows are young, lacking in confidence, easily taken advantage of, vulnerable. And some of those who prey on them are civic or political leaders. Jesus warns against them.
Then he points to a poor widow who puts a couple of coins into the treasury. She has given out of her poverty, all she had to live on. She is wise and experienced. She knows her value, her role in the lives of others, where God fits in the picture. Two small coins is all she could give, but it is a gesture of generosity toward those in greater need than herself, and trust in God from whom all blessings flow. She gives advice about how to love God and neighbor by her simple, silent, unassuming example. If we are wise, we would pay closer attention, and be attentive to the quality of our example for others to see and learn from.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Margaret Fitzpatrick.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020