32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - 11th November, 2018

Liturgical Reflection

 

Put in All She Had

Looking between the lines of today’s readings the destitution of women in society is clearly evident.

We begin with the widow from the ancient city of Sidon who shares her last meal with Elijah.  I suspect she did not know who he truly was but trusted when he said there would be enough food to share.  It is a theme found in folk tales: the unending pot of porridge that overflows for example.  Is this an echo of God’s goodness poured out in generous measure to sustain the needs of those who trust?

The beginning of the Gospel brings us also to the near destitution of women and indeed one of the reasons for their poverty.  Jesus speaks of ‘the men who swallow the property of widows’.  He also speaks of how well these men are dressed, of how they are looked up to by society and how they take ‘the places of honour’ while usurping what little resources the poorer people have.

You don’t have to look far to see current parallels.  The evidence given to the Royal Commission into banking springs immediately to mind.

I like to people-watch and it’s good to know that Our Lord also did this.  Sitting and watching the rich contributing (no doubt they were pleased to have an audience) Jesus comes upon the poor widow, and his teaching begins.

 
 

His main theme, it seems to me, is that we should give of ourselves according to our resources whether they be monetary or influential and not to be judgmental of others.

Recently I walked into my Year 6 catechist class to see that their teacher had the children watching the Invictus Games.  Not wishing to compete with their rapt interest I decided to change the lesson plan to: ‘Jesus in Action’.  Here was Prince Harry a man of means and influence who instead of living the life of the glitterati was using what he had to improve the lives of others.  And here were the ‘others’ using the limitations of their bodies to share the camaraderie of competition with support and love for those around them.

It would be a wonderful thing if women were equally celebrated for using their wealth and influence for the betterment of others.  Although the status of women has improved greatly in the last two thousand years (might I surmise through the influence of Christianity) we still have a way to go.  It is only when women’s wealth and influence are equal to men’s can we hope for an equal share in the philanthropy.

Judith Croke