Saint Norbert, bishop (opt. Memorial); Saint Jarlath, bishop (opt. Memorial)
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 loses its essence 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 widow who put two small copper coins, worth about a cent, into the collection box. She gave more than all the others; for they contributed from their surplus while she gave from her poverty. This is another way of completing the race. The widow gave herself totally to the Lord.
From this, the expression the widow's mite has come to mean something small given in a generous spirit. The widow gave the little she had to support divine worship and therby became the patroness of generous giving. Jesus praised her as an example to his disciples, who have much to learn from the goodness of ordinary people.
At this time Jesus was in the Jerusalem, soon to meet his death. This generous, god-fearing widow was a figure of the sacrifice he would make on the cross, giving everything for us. There are saints in our midst, like the widow, whom we may not notice. Generosity of spirit can be shown in very ordinary ways. Even if we have very little to spare, if we are generous in our use of it we are rich in the eyes of the Lord.