widow“No se acabó la harina de la tinaja ni el aceite de la jarra tal como el Señor lo había dicho por medio de Elías.”[1 Reyes 17, 16]
El primer libro de los Reyes nos ofrece una verdad profunda de nuestra fe: si escuchamos la invitación de Dios de ser generosos, entonces nuestras vidas irán llenandose con la gracia de la abundancia.

El evangelio de San Marco nos presenta dos ejemplos de actividades que parecen ser actividades de generosidad, pero no lo son! El primero ejemplo es claro. Cuando empezamos el evangelio, encontramos a Jesús en una conversación con los escribas, un grupo de eruditos de la Ley. Algunos son muy santo. Otros, no. Jesús mira algunos de los escribas, quienes deberían hacer dos cosas. Primero: Los escribas deberían mostrarle a la gente como ser santo. Segundo: Ellos y los fariseos deberían construir los sistemas que hicieran posible que todos sean santos.

Entonces, Jesús observa algunos ricos que estaban contribuyendo al templo. Pero no estaban dando de sus corazones. Porque algunos escribas y fariseos había acordado que dar al templo es una obligación, los ricos estaban dando, “lo que les sobra,” dice Jesús. Es como la gente quien creen que la ofrenda durante la misa es una limosna. No es la generosidad evangélica, porque no hay un costo, y no hay confianza en Dios.

miteInmediatamente, Jesús ve una mujer, una viuda pobre. Y, en los tiempos de Jesús, si usted hubiera sido una viuda, usted habría sido pobre. El sistema religioso dice que esta viuda debe dar una contribución. Es una obligación. ¡Así es el sistema. No importa la condición económica de esta mujer! Hay un costo terrible. ¿Es esta una buena mujer? ¡Seguramente! ¿pero, es esta acción la generosidad evangélica? ¡Por seguro, no, porque ella no es libre en su opción de dar!

Pero hemos estado dispuestos a ver esto por lo que es: una ilustración de cómo los escribas que dirigen el templo están devorando la casa de una viuda, todo lo que tenía para vivir, de hecho, literalmente, “toda su vida”. Sea o no, era un “libre albedrío” o un pago obligatorio, este sistema del templo se ha comido otra viuda. No hay críticas de la viuda, pero tampoco hay simple elogio de ella como un ejemplo de generosidad. Ella es un espectador inocente, una víctima del templo, inútilmente sacrificada por los escribas, que muy pronto pasará a devorar la vida de Jesús también. Escuchen otra vez a la primera sección del evangelio de hoy: [Lea San Marco 12: 38-40]

¡La crítica que hace Jesús es muy fuerte! De hecho, él va a criticar el sistema entero. No es de extrañar que despues de haber visto esta escena de la opresión, Jesús lanza el ataque más furioso y sostenido en el templo, abiertamente predecir su destrucción misma. Escuchen ahora el comienzo del capítulo trece, que sigue inmediatamente despues de este evangelio, que no vamos a leer en este año litúrgico. [Lea San Marco 13: 1-2]

Dios está juzgando el sistema con severidad! San Lucas extiende aún más esta crítica, pero es una homilía para otro año 🙂

Entonces, ¿Cómo ser generoso? ¿Cómo promover la generosidad verdadera? Recuerden: la generosidad verdadera es una respuesta al amor que hemos recibido de Dios.

Uno: El Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica, en la sección sobre los preceptos de la iglesia católica dice, “El quinto precepto significa que los fieles están obligados a colaborar con las necesidades materiales de la Iglesia, cada uno según su propia capacidad.” La obligación es mínima y condicional. Como discipulos, debemos dar de nuestros corazones. Si es posible y prudente, cada semana o cada mes, podemos dar una parte más significante de nuestros recursos a la iglesia para apoyar, y para hacer posible las obras de caridad y justícia. Es una decisión individual o de la familia.
Dos: Si vemos sistemas – eclesiales o políticos – que insisten en que una persona vaya sin comer un solo día, debemos luchar para cambiar ese sistema.
Es una implicación del evangelio y también del mandamiento del amor. Como un famoso rabino – uno de los sucesores de los escribas y los fariseos quien vivía durante el tiempo cuando fueron escritos los evangelios – ha dicho: “No es su obligación de completar la tarea de perfeccionar el mundo, pero tampoco es libre para que desista de hacer todo lo que pueda”. (Tarfon, Ética de los Padres – de Susan Stabile on FB)

Hay Buenas Noticias hoy día. Dios es generoso. Jesús es generoso. Él da todo lo que tiene en esta eucaristía. Tengan confianza en Dios, y verán lo que les van a suceder. Levantense y abran sus corazones al Padre en esta eucaristía. [Partes de esta homilía son de el blog de Byron Smith]

inglés

“The jar of flour or did not run out, and the jug of oil did not run dry as the Lord had spoken through Elijah.[1 Kings 17:16]”

The first book of Kings gives us a profound truth of our faith: if we hear God’s invitation to be generous, then it will fill our lives with the grace of abundance.

St. Mark’s Gospel presents us with two examples of activities that appear to be generous, but they are not! The first example is clear. When we begin the gospel, we find Jesus in a conversation with the scribes, a group of scholars of the Law. Some are very holy. Others are not. Jesus looks at some of the scribes, who are supposed to do two things. First: The scribes should show people how to be holy. Second: They and the Pharisees should build systems that would allow everyone to be saints.

Then, Jesus notes that some wealthy people were contributing to the temple. But they were not giving from their hearts. Because some scribes and Pharisees had agreed that to give to the temple is a must, the rich were giving, “from their excess,” says Jesus. It’s like people who believe that the offering during Mass is a pittance. It is not Gospel generosity, because there is no cost, and no trust in God.

Immediately thereafter, Jesus sees a woman, a poor widow. And in Jesus’ time, if you were a widow, you were poor. The religious system says that the widow should give a contribution. It is an obligation. That’s the system! The economic condition of this woman doesn’t matter! There is a terrible cost. Is this a good woman? Surely! But is this action Gospel generosity? Certainly not, because she is not free in her choice of giving!

But we were prepared to see this for what it is: an illustration of how the scribes who run the temple are devouring the house of a widow, all she had to live on, in fact, literally, “all her life.” Whether or not it was a “free will” offering or a mandatory payment, this temple system has eaten another widow. There’s  criticism of the widow, but there is no simple etribute to her as an example of generosity. She is an innocent bystander, a victim of the temple, needlessly sacrificed by these scribes, who will soon devour the life of Jesus also (B. Smith). Listen again to the first section of today’s Gospel:[Read St. Mark 12: 38-40]

Jesus’s critique is strong! In fact, he will criticize the entire system. No wonder that after seeing this scene of oppression, Jesus launches the most furious and sustained attack on the temple itself, and openly predicts its destruction (B. Smith). Listen now to the beginning of chapter thirteen, which follows immediately after this gospel, and which we will not read this liturgical year.[Read St. Mark 13: 1-2]

God is judging the system severely! Luke further extends this critique, but that’s a homily for another year:)

So how to be generous? How to promote true generosity? Remember, true generosity is a response to the love we have received from God.

One: The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the section on the precepts of the Catholic Church says, “The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to cooperate with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.” The obligation is minimal and conditional. As disciples, we must give of our hearts. If it’s possible and prudent, weekly or monthly, we can give a more significant portion of our resources to support the church, and to allow the works of charity and justice. It is an individual or family decision.
Two: If we see systems – ecclesiastical or political – that insist that a person go without eating a single day, we must fight to change that system.
It is an implication of the Gospel and the commandment of love, also. As a famous rabbi – one of the successors of the scribes and Pharisees who lived during the time when the gospels were written – said: “It is your obligation to complete the task of perfecting the world, but is not free to desist to do everything I can. ” (Tarfon, Ethics of the Fathers — from Susan Stabile on FB)

There is good news today. God is generous. Jesus is generous. He gives everything he has in the Eucharist. Have faith in God and see what is going to happen. Lift up and open your hearts to the Father in the Eucharist.

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3 thoughts on “Homilía: 8 de Noviembre

  1. […] are many possible lessons in the story of the widow in Mark’s Gospel. My friend Aidan focuses on Jesus’ criticism of the scribes who run the temple. Others focus on what this teaches about […]

  2. Aidan Rooney

    Although a particular story taken out of context may admit of many meanings (and to do this is a valid, and time-honored Christian use of the scriptures), a Sunday preacher must always begin by asking, “Is this meaning actually justified by the text and context of the story?” I agree that the story from 1 Kings is a parable of generosity. The woman is free to hold to her original response. She is certainly under no obligation derived from the “demands of hospitality” to starve herself or her child for Elijah’s sake. She freely chooses to trust. My friend Susan Stabile’s concluding observations and questions are critical for the serious seeker of the Spirit.

    However, nowhere in today’s passage from the Gospel of Mark (or the corresponding passage in Luke, for that matter, or even Matthew who curiously omits the tale of the “widow’s mite” in his parallel treatment of Mark’s material) can we find support for the widow being anything more than a tragic victim of malformed religious devotion. Given Saint Mark’s earlier condemnation of the Law of Corban, I believe this is even more clearly a condemnation of the temple system, rather than the presentation of a contrasting exemplar of generosity. Granted, the pairing of the readings from the Book of Kings and the Gospel of Mark in this case may very well have emerged from a committee that wanted the assembly to derive a lesson on generosity, but the Lectionary is rife with this kind of intrusive isogesis with catechetical goals. This week’s pairing of the two readings, seen clearly, seems to me to be a contrast of giving as and act of freely chosen trust over against (Jesus sits “opposite,” not in, the temple, as the text says,) the heavily caricatured temple authorities and their religiously supported “devouring” behavior.

    Susan’s reflections are significant, thoughtful and extremely helpful to my spiritual journey. The lesson of trusting God and finding a heart to be generous is, indeed, a deeply important lesson of the Gospels. It is simply not a lesson from this one. I continue to struggle to “preach the sacred texts” as faithfully as I can. Learning and growing from another’s perspective is as essential to the preaching task as is the exegesis that precedes it. I am grateful.

  3. Susan Stabile

    Thanks, Aidan. You are quite correct that my reading of the Gospel is much affected by its pairing with the reading from the Book of Kings. Your caution about the danger of doing that is a good one and I’m grateful for the lesson.

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