This Sunday’s Readings:
1 Kings 17:10–16
Psalm 146:7, 8–9, 9–10 (℟ 1b or Alleluia)
Mark 12:38–44 or 12:41–44
TODAY’S GOSPEL PAIRED WITH THE STORY OF THE DESTITUTE WIDOW WHO SHOWED HOSPITALITY TO ELIJAH highlights God’s care for the poor and the total trust they have in God. But there’s a more difficult message in Mark’s Gospel today. To hear that, we need to proclaim the longer version of the lectionary passage.
After last Sunday’s congenial dialogue between Jesus and the lone agreeable scribe, things quickly intensify. Jesus warns the crowds about scribes who display their self-importance and false public piety while exploiting widows into poverty. Jesus’s condemnation gives us the lens through which we observe the temple activity.
Mark contrasts the rich—now seen in connection with the arrogant scribes—with the lowly widow. (We wonder if she is among those mistreated by the scribes.) Jesus notices that the rich put in only a portion of their excess. But what Jesus draws to our attention to is why they give anything at all. Like the scribes, they do it for show, to elevate themselves among the community. However, the widow, here and in the first reading, gives everything she has for the sake of the community. In this sense, she is an image of Jesus.
The hard question we must ask ourselves is this: Is our motivation for the good that we do in line with the scribes or in line with Christ?
“We taste in you our living bread, and long to feast upon you still. We drink of you, the fountainhead, our thirsting souls to quench and fill.”
This communion antiphon captures the longing we have for the real presence of Christ. When we believe what the Eucharist is, we literally hunger for it. This has been felt so profoundly by so many during months of being away from Mass and away from receiving communion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, may we recognize all the ways we are blessed when we can hold Jesus close and be truly grateful for the life his body and blood give the world.
More choral suggestions for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Abundant Life Marty Haugen SATB, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. C instrument, cello G-4281
Abundant Life Rob Glover SATB, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. instruments G-3952
Al Partir el Pan / When We Break This Bread Pedro Rubalcava Two- or three-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, 2 trumpets, 2 violins 012642
Awake to the Day Ed Bolduc & John Barker Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 008207
El Amor de Dios / God’s Love Is Everlasting Lourdes Montgomery Two-pt choir, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar 012649
Praise the Lord, My Soul: Psalm 146 Rudy T. Borkowski SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, flute, percussion 006286
Tesoros Ocultos / Treasures Out of Darkness Alan Revering, Arr. Peter Kolar SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard, guitar, opt. flute, oboe, French horn 012671
The Good Shepherd M. Roger Holland II SAT, male solo, assembly, keyboard, guitar 001295
The Morning Trumpet Arr. Alan J. Hommerding SATB a cappella, trumpet 005876
To the Poor a Lasting Treasure Francis Patrick O’Brien SATB, assembly, piano, guitar, opt. string quartet G-4523
Two Copper Coins Dolores M. Hruby Two-part children’s choir, keyboard 007119
Your Sacrifice Thomas Lucas SATB, assembly, keyboard, guitar 001210