Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Today’s Gospel reading is a challenging one for me. We encounter Jesus teaching about wealth and warning us about using our wealth for our own gain. As someone who has never experienced a ton of material wealth in my life, it’s easy to think I’m doing just fine. I’ve never spent a ton of money on fancy clothes, cars, or other possessions, but I think I’ve found ways to still live a life of luxury. The Lord is strong in His example of the scribes who flaunt their wealth by telling us they will be condemned.
But even though I don’t have the experience of wearing the modern equivalent of fancy robes or sitting at places of honor at fancy banquets, I am certainly not the other subject of today’s Gospel reading- the poor widow. I think it’s important to realize that Jesus is using the scribe and the widow as examples in a beautiful metaphor; we don’t have to recognize ourselves as fully one or the other, but understand the message Jesus is sharing. The widow, though poor, is able to give out of her poverty. The rich are able to give large sums of money, just as those of us who are blessed are able to give more than those who don’t have as much as we do. But Jesus uses the example of the widow to show that it isn’t about how much we can give- it’s about how much of what we have that we’re willing to give.
The true measure of wealth is not how much we have, but how much we’re willing to give away. When it comes to our material possessions, a good gauge is how willing we are to share or to give away. When was the last time you purged your closet and dresser to give away that shirt you haven’t worn in six months? How often do you drop money into the basket at Mass during the offertory? How often are you willing to share your food or resources with your friends? Even though you may not have much to give and you may not be the richest person, remember that it isn’t about the total amount you can give, it’s about how much of what you have that you’re willing to give. Jesus is our example of this- God became poor and gave us everything. Be like Jesus, be like the widow. Don’t worry about the overall amount, be concerned with how much of what you have that you’re willing to give.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What are some ways you could be more generous in your life?
What are some areas you are poor and some areas you are rich?
Do you ever give from the areas that are poor, when it might hurt, or only when you have excess and it is easy to give?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Here's my heart, Lord."
"I give it all to You."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Be generous today. Be generous in a way that is actually a sacrifice. That may be money, clothes, time, whatever... just be generous for the glory of God.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
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