In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn awy from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
My lips are filled with your praise,
with your glory all the day long.
Do not reject me now that I am old;
when my strength fails do not forsake me. (R./)
But as for me, I will always hope
and praise you more and more.
My lips will tell of your justice
and day by day of your help
though I can never tell it all. (R./)
I will declare the Lord's mighty deeds
proclaiming your justice, yours alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still. (R./)
So I will give thanks on the lyre
for your faithful love, my God.
To you will I sing with the harp
to you, the Holy One of Israel. (R./)
Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
Religion wilts and fades if it degenerates into a concern for splendid vestments, guaranteed front seats in synagogues and churches, places of honour at banquets, long prayers.
To correct any such version of religion, Jesus praises the old woman who put two small copper coins, worth about a cent, into the collection box. She contributed more than all the others; for they gave from their surplus while she gave from her poverty. This is another way of arriving at the end of the journey and of finishing the race. The widow gave herself totally to the Lord.
The phrase widow's mite has made its way into the English language. It often refers to something small which, nonetheless, displays a tremendous generosity of spirit. The widow gave a very small amount of money to the temple treasure, but in giving that very little, she was giving everything she had to live on. Jesus identifies her to his own disciples as an example of generosity of spirit. He often encouraged his disciples to learn from the goodness of ordinary people.
At this time Jesus was in the Jerusalem, soon to meet his end. This woman who gave everything was a figure of the sacrifice he was soon to make on the cross, giving everything away for us. This insignificant widow who had next to nothing to give was, in reality, a living image of generosity. The widow reminds us that there are saints in our midst that we may not notice. Generosity of spirit can be expressed in very ordinary ways. There can be times in our lives when we have very little, but if we are generous with the little we have, we are rich in the eyes of the Lord.