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MK 12: 38-44
22nd S.after Pentecost

This may be only a little passage, but it packs a wallop! Two wallops, in fact!

First, for those of us who are 'clergy', & for some elevated laity, 'walking around in long robes, being greeted with respect,...getting the best seats in-house' may be a little close to the bone. If the cap fits we badly need to wear it. Wear what it may be symptomatic of as Jesus sees things. Do I want these things? Do I need them? If some inner me does need them, what does this mean for my discipleship? For my leadership role?

Hypocrisy, two-facedness, hiding behind masks, is the one thing Jesus can't stand. The Complete Gospels [ed. Robert J.Miller, Polebridge, '94, ad loc] uses the interesting word contrast between 'preying' & 'praying'! Worth exploring?

Long prayers often seem to go hand-in-hand with long-windedness as a 'dis-ease'. Long sermons too! Jesus doesn't seem too keen on them.

Second, also close to the bone for many of us, many of our congregations, is the matter of church giving & church finances in general. The latter taking up disproportionate time at parish councils & the like compared with its rating in the Gospels.

Jesus seems to suggest the heart of the issue lies in the distinction between giving from what w ehave left over, & giving as a first charge, a love charge. The widow is blessed because she's one of those who truly knows she has nothing other than God. I can't compete with that! Only give thanks for such a person & her example. Knowing that most of the time (for that, read, 'all the time')  I'm too hypocritical to do what she does. I may be busy talking up what Jesus says, but I'm not in the same race as our poor widow at doing what Jesus does. How can we all bring our two faces together to become one? The only answer I know, trite as it may be, hard as it will be, is become more like Jesus.