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St. Mark tells us that one day Jesus was teaching in the Temple. Mark 12:40

What was Jesus doing?

Jesus is doing what he always does in the gospels. What catches his eye and draws his heart are those in most need: those who need forgiveness…those who, as in the case of the widow, need someone to take their side, speak up for them, counsel, and protect their interests. 

That day, as Jesus sat in the temple precincts, what impressed him? What caught his eye?

  • Not the superficial things that impress so many in our world.
  • Not the expensive clothes of the prosperous. 
  • Not the high social standing of those scribes.
  • Certainly not their religious  airs.
  • Nor the way those scribes, the legal experts, treated widows.

Jesus saw what others would have missed, a poorly dressed, sad-looking woman with grief written on her face, coming to the Temple. Perhaps she was one who would have been elbowed out of the way to make room for the prominent, well-known benefactors, with gold and silver in their money bags. The widow wasn’t important.

Teaching the disciples to see what he saw.

Jesus got up from the place he was sitting and called his disciples. The teacher had a lesson for them. He wanted his disciples to observe what he had observed.

He wanted them to take note of the widow. If they were to be his disciples, live his way of life, then the needy and the neglected must come first in their eyes. They were also to see how pure her intentions were as she came to worship God.

Among all the so-called religious people there that day, the widow was the one with true religion. She, not the scribes, was the important religious figure in the story.  She, not the scribes, was honored by Jesus.

Mark teachs us to see what Jesus saw

Many things might seem ordinary to us, on some days, insignificant. But that might not be the way Jesus sees our lives.

Remember how Jesus described the widow: doing a simple act of love was more important than anything anyone else was doing in that impressive  Temple, with all those so-called important people around.

We often miss the holiness and significance of our own daily offerings in service to God, family, and neighbor. We pray for a renewed gift of the Spirit to open our eyes and ears to see and hear with Jesus’ own eyes and ears

Mark has been showing that Jesus has been giving his life throughout all his ministry. He gave his healing touch to the desperate leper; comforted the father and then cured his son rolling in a fit on the ground; fed the crowds who followed him into the desert; tirelessly engaged in arguments with the religious leaders who hounded him, etc.

Today’s gospel tells us that Jesus used his eyes well.

He saw those scribes and their hypocrisy.

He noticed with a heart filled with compassion and with a keen sense of what was right and what was wrong.

There is something else he saw… but did not yet make explicit to his disciples. They were not yet ready for this lesson

The widow was no stranger to Jesus. hem saw in her what he himself was doing all along. He too had been giving all that he had and would continue to do so, till he gave all of his life for us in Jerusalem.

We receive Jesus at each Eucharist so that, like him, we can give our lives in service to those he was always pointing out to us, as he did for his disciples, the least in our midst.

For further thought…

  • Do we notice the goodness of ordinary people?
  • Have you ever thought of the widow giving her all as doing what Jesus did on the cross?

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

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