The readings today are definitely not a reflection on those “crazy, rich Asians!” This is about poverty and an emblem of poverty in the biblical times – the widows. In a masculine-oriented world, to be a woman was to be a second class citizen. To become a widow was a great liability in the society. To be poor was to enter into the lowest rung of insecurity and helplessness. That God has a special love for widows shows that most of them, the poor ones certainly, have God as their only anchor of hope.

In the rare occasions that Jesus proposed certain people as epitome of virtue, he chose among them a widow as an admirable person of faith. Yes, some widows were rich in those days. But it is the poor widow that Jesus upholds as the symbol of those who truly glorify God, who were free from material attachments and who were generous to the point of giving all that was left to give.

It is not widowhood that makes all the difference then. It is that spirit of poverty that surprisingly produces a courageous trust in God and a reckless abandonment to the arms of his Providence. In a way, anybody can become a “widow” in spirit, the same person who Elijah blessed in the first reading (1 Kings 17) and who Jesus pointed out as a model of faith.

Why is it that the most moving acts of generosity and sharing come from the poor? The old woman who whispered a humble apology to the priest at Mass for she could only afford to give 2 cans of cheap sardines. The pregnant woman from the slums, rightly concerned about the expenses at her coming childbirth, who reserved a small amount to contribute to her church’s altar renovation. The boy who while joining his friends for the first time at McDonald’s, sliced his burger in half, and decided to bring half of it home to his brother who never had a burger in his life.

This is what Jesus saw that day. He did not look at the amount of the donation. He did not inquire about the background of the donor. He saw the heart of a person who had so little but still wanted to share knowing that it was the right thing to do and that God, who loves the cheerful giver, is also the giver of spiritual rewards and material blessings.

In this time of great sufferings of our brothers and sisters, do we have enough compassion to want to act, enough courage to believe that God is faithful, and enough faith to glorify God in the little things we do for others?