Today is the 1st Sunday of Advent, and as I have mentioned before, it always sneaks up on me. Maybe because it came so quickly after an absolutely blessed Thanksgiving weekend filled with the kids, grandkids, good food, family outings, watching lots of football (by the way, I’m sorry about that Lions L), and making plans for us all to be together again at Christmas this year in Tennessee. But all of this can make it easy for me to overlook Advent and what it is all about. Advent is about hope. A hope that can bring a sense of peace no matter what is happening in our life or the world around us. A hope we can find and bring to others, by doing good deeds and sharing what we have.
In the daily Gospel from last Monday, Jesus praises the generosity of a poor widow who humbly donates all her money to the temple treasury (Luke 21:1-4). What is most intriguing about this story is not that she quietly gave away the little money she had to live on, but that Jesus sees, acknowledges, and affirms her for doing it. Jesus uses this story to give us a brief teaching on generosity. What He praises is the quality and not the quantity of the widow’s giving. Although her meager offering is nothing compared to the large sums many rich people were donating, she gave the little she had, whereas the rich people gave from their surplus of wealth.
So, what is the lesson? It doesn’t matter whether or not our good deeds go unnoticed by others. Like the widow, we must trust that God sees all our efforts, no matter how little, and will affirm us in our hour of need. Because, God sees everything we do, and like a loving Father, will affirm us in due time. This is worth much more than any earthly prize.
As we enter this season of Advent, may we pray for the grace to realize that any abundance we have is not for our own good, but for the good of others. May we learn to be like the widow who gave everything she had so others might benefit, even in her poverty, so we can rid our self of anything that distracts us from experiencing and sharing the spirit of joyful hope founded in the anticipation of celebrating the coming of an infant Savior 2000 years ago. Happy Advent!
- Adapted from FaithND.edu, 11/27/23