The idea of self-giving and sacrifice is one that was very familiar to the thousands of men and women who we remember each year on Remembrance Day, November 11th. They endured much suffering and hardship for our sakes, and the crosses that mark their graves remind us that they are now united with our Lord, who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life out of love for us on the Cross so that we could hope in Salvation.
The idea of giving of our self for the sake of others is a theme that is echoed in our Scripture readings this weekend. We read of the starving widow who shared the last of her food with the Prophet Elijah, first making him a little cake from her last handful of meal and oil and only afterwards making something for herself and for her son to eat. Her trust in God was richly rewarded, and she and her entire household did not go hungry: the jar of meal and the jug of oil remained full until the drought in Israel had ended (1 Kings 17:10-16).
Similarly, in the Gospel of Mark we read of a poor widow who put two small copper coins, worth only a penny, in the Temple treasury. Although the widow’s gift may have seemed small when compared to the gifts of others, for this woman it was a sacrificial offering. While others had contributed from what they could spare – from their excess – “she out of her poverty … put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mk 12:44).
How about us? Would we be prepared to make this kind of sacrifice, or have we become so attached to our money and possessions that they have become a barrier rather than a blessing in our lives, something that stands between us and our love for God and neighbour? God is never outdone in generosity, and when we place our trust in Him, He promises us something far greater than earthly riches: life in eternity. “He who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 10:39).
– Sharon van der Sloot