This Sunday’s gospel has long been used to talk about generosity. But what if, as scripture scholar Addison Wright has written, that this is not a story about generosity, but a critique of the kind of religion that leads people to make misguided and eventually meaningless choices: “Jesus’ saying is not a penetrating insight on the measuring of gifts; it is a lament, “Amen, I tell you, she gave more than all the others.” Or, as we would say: “One could easily fail to notice it, but there is a tragedy of the day—she put in her whole living.” She had been taught and encouraged by religious leaders to donate as she does, and Jesus condemns the value system that motivates her action, and he condemns the people who conditioned her to do it.” Take a minute to read Wright’s commentary and then pop back here.

What is our religion for? What is it doing to us? Are we becoming more free? more just? have we walked away from our religious traditions because something rings hollow? What if we became more like Jesus, and fearlessly risked our lives for the faith and the tradition and the God we love and who loves us? What if instead of “retiring” from our religious communities, we engaged them with clear and prophetic speech about what we encounter when we go to church?