Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two Small Coins

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."” (Mk 12:41-44)

A couple of weeks ago a letter came for the youth of Musoma Cathedral who asked me for a retreat here in Kiabakari, in the diocesan shrine of Divine Mercy. Some of those youth I worked with back in 2002-2006 when I was a pastor there. The letter brought back memories of that period and one particular moment of it, when the youth group of Musoma Cathedral asked me for a retreat day for them. I complied and we had a recollection day in the cathedral...

During my spiritual talk, I read a Gospel of the rich young man coming to Jesus. I asked them to close their eyes, when I finished reading the Gospel, and go back in their imagination to their homes and rooms and find one particular object which is most valuable, most precious to them. I gave them a minute to do so. After a minute of silence I asked them if they were ready. They nodded. Then I asked them to open their eyes. I looked at them and asked calmly to bring those objects to me the next day so I could distribute them among the poor of the parish.

Nobody was ready to do so. This brought a feeling of sadness to me and to them when they realized how far they were from the request of Jesus to the rich young man, from that old lady who came with two small coins to the temple, to Jesus himself, who died on the Cross for us completely naked as the perfect example of complete detachment from the possessions of this world and victory over lust of material things, money and richness.
Those young people in the cathedral never came back to me asking for another retreat. Till this time.

Today I quoted this example in my homily. I did not ask the faithful to repeat the same exercise. I simply asked them to consider that one day they will be like Jesus on the Cross - they will not be able to take with them even a single match from the matchbox. If things are like this, then why we spend perhaps 95% of our time looking and running after things we will eventually leave behind and forget about things that matter in the perspective of our destiny? Why we don’t invest first in things we will take with us - the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the love of God and our neighbors, good deeds for others, making sure that the good seeds of love and gratitude grow in hearts of those we live with and care for. After all, what we will leave behind when we will die, is people’s respect, love and gratitude for who we were, what we were standing for and what we did for them.

Think about it.

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