When the wedding celebration was ended, Tobit called his son Tobias and said to him, "My child, see to paying the wages of the man who went with you, and give him a bonus as well." So Tobias called him and said, "Take for your wages half of all that you brought back, and farewell."
Then Raphael called the two of them privately and said to them, "Bless God and acknowledge him in the presence of all the living for the good things he has done for you. Bless and sing praise to his name. With fitting honour declare to all people the deeds of God. Do not be slow to acknowledge him. It is good to conceal the secret of a king, but to acknowledge and reveal the works of God, and with fitting honour to acknowledge him. Do good and evil will not overtake you. Prayer with fasting is good, but better than both is almsgiving with righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than wealth with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to lay up gold. For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin. Those who give alms will enjoy a full life, but those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies.
"I will now declare the whole truth to you and will conceal nothing from you. Already I have declared it to you when I said, "It is good to conceal the secret of a king, but to reveal with due honour the works of God.' So now when you and Sarah prayed, it was I who brought and read the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord, and likewise whenever you would bury the dead. And that time when you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner to go and bury the dead, I was sent to you to test you. And at the same time God sent me to heal you and Sarah your daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord."
So now get up from the ground, and acknowledge God. See, I am ascending to him who sent me. Write down all these things that have happened to you." And he ascended. Then they stood up, and could see him no more. Then Tobit said: "Blessed be God who lives forever, because his kingdom lasts throughout all ages. For he afflicts, and he shows mercy; he leads down to Hades in the lowest regions of the earth, and he brings up from the great abyss, and there is nothing that can escape his hand."
By turns he punishes and pardons;
he sends men down to the depths of the underworld
and draws them up from supreme destruction;
no one can escape his hand. (R./)
If you return to him with all your heart and all your soul,
behaving honestly towards him,
then he will return to you
and hide his face from you no longer. (R./)
Consider how well he has treated you;
loudly give him thanks.
Bless the Lord of justice
and extol the King of the ages. (R./)
I for my part sing his praise
in the country of my exile;
I make his power and greatness known
to a nation that has sinned. (R./)
In his teaching 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 meaning if its leaders focus upon splendid vestments, guaranteed front seats in synagogues and churches, places of honour at banquets, long prayers. To correct such a distortion of religion, Jesus warmly praises the old woman putting her two small copper coins, worth about a couple of cents, into the collection box. In her intent, she contributed more than all the others; for they gave from their surplus while she gave from her dire need. 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 a wonderful generosity of spirit. Jesus often encouraged his disciples to learn from people who were not his disciples. At this point in the gospel Jesus is in the Jerusalem, about to face into his passion. This woman who gave everything was a figure of Jesus who was soon to give everything on the cross. This seemingly insignificant widow who seemed to give next to nothing was, in reality, a living witness of divine generosity. The widow reminds us that there are saints in our midst that we don't often notice. A wonderful generosity of spirit can reveal itself in gestures that appear very ordinary and even insignificant to those observing. There can be times in our lives when we appear to have very little, in all kinds of ways, but if we give generously out of the little we have, we are rich in the eyes of the Lord.