11 November 2018
1 Kings 17:10-16
Elijah the Prophet went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:
“Jar of meal shall not be spent,
jug of oil shall not be emptied,
before the day when the Lord sends
rain on the face of the earth.”’
The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.
It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was only modelled on the real one; but it was heaven itself, so that he could appear in the actual presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since men only die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, too, offers himself only once to take the faults of many on himself, and when he appears a second time, it will not be to deal with sin but to reward with salvation those who are waiting for him.
In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’
He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’
We are but custodians
Recently, I have been listening to the podcasts of Bishop Robert Barron’s sermons – ‘Word on Fire’. It is very enlightening and helpful in my faith studies. He provides background information to help explain the readings from the bible, ranging from the Old Testament, New Testament and the Gospels.
It has certainly shed some light on questions that I have had but didn’t know who or how to ask. It has enriched my faith journey immensely. It seems the more I ponder about our Catholic faith, the more there is to learn and understand.
Throughout the podcasts, there is one theme that stands out for me. In this secular and colourful world where we are easily distracted by the lights, sounds and other objects that stimulate our senses, we lose sight of the truth. We are so caught up in the rat race of earning more, having more, becoming more in the eyes of man; we attribute any ‘successes’ that we experience to our abilities and hard work; we forget that all that we have, all that we are, comes from God. We are but custodians of the ‘talents’ that He has entrusted to us for the time being.
We cannot know God’s plans. But He has one for everyone of us. He blessed some with great talents, some with great wealth, some with great wisdom; the point is that He blesses every one of us differently but loves us all equally. With the blessings that He has given, we should be generous in sharing and giving, whether it is our time, our talents or our treasures. We are but custodians and have temporary stewardship. Besides the act of giving, we also need to keep in mind the spirit in which we give. We should give with an attitude of servitude and not one aimed to win us favours and recognition from others in the communities around us. As Mother Teresa said: “In the end, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.”
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we pray for the spirit of humility and recognize that all that we are, all that we have, comes from You. May the Holy Spirit guide us to utilize our talents to give generously and with a mindset of servitude.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, our Heavenly Father, for blessing and loving us, and for the people who share and give abundantly of themselves, their time, their talents and their treasures.