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32nd Sunday

Foremost in people’s mind today is security.  We want ourselves to be safe, our money to grow, our businesses to flourish, our studies to be smooth, our lives to be prosperous. To be secure, we resort to accumulation, hoarding, investing, piling up supplies and keeping to ourselves valued necessities.   In every election period, people screen candidates according to their capacity to deliver a more stable life for all.
The readings today address our quest for security.  In the heart of God and of His Son, what is the secret to living peacefully, plentifully and abundantly?  We are in for a big surprise:  it is not supplying my needs, but giving to those in need. 
The first reading (1 Kings 17) shows us a poor widow preparing her last meal for herself and her son, after which they will surely die because of their poverty.  The prophet Elijah surprisingly challenges her to share her meager food with him.  In the midst of her protest, the prophet speaks God’s promise:  the jar of flour shall never go empty, the jug of oil shall never run dry.  The widow trusted God’s word and gave from her poverty.  Though she did not get rich, she and her son never lacked their basic needs!
Because we are afraid to experience want, we resist the invitation to be generous in giving and sharing with others.  Don’t we often wonder: If I give, what will happen to me?  What is there in it for me?  Will I not be the one begging?  Why give away to others what I worked hard for?  I am also poor, I also need help.
However, it is very clear, that God’s promise of security and abundance is not for the selfish but for the selfless.  You do not have to be rich to be able to share.  The poor in fact, give us more compelling examples of love and sacrifice when they give from what little they have. 
I remember an incident when I brought a group of children to fast food meal one day.  Each one got a hamburger, fries and drinks.  While all the kids were happily munching their meal, a boy, from a poor family, merely sipped from his drinks while neatly preserving his burger and fries.  I wondered if he were full.  But it turned out that it was his first time to eat this kind of food and he remembered his younger siblings at home with whom he wished to share his portion. 
In the gospel (Mark 12), the Lord Jesus makes the same point.  The rich were giving from their surplus for the upkeep of the temple.  But there came an old widow who had no other money than the one she dropped in the collection box.  For Jesus, that woman’s donation far outweighed the extravagant spectacle of the rich donors.
It does not only feel good to give.  Giving is a source of rich blessings.  Yes, we may be poor and simple.  But that does not disqualify us from becoming generous distributors of gifts.  The disciples remembered Jesus saying: it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Like our widows, do you believe God’s promises?  Do you want to experience the superabundance of grace in giving?