November 7, 2021
We can sometimes feel spiritually very poor. The gospel today shows the hidden potential in that poverty.
- Mass is an opportunity for souls in Purgatory to be freed from Purgatory because of our prayers.
- It is very helpful for us to reflect on the souls in Purgatory because it helps us recall Heaven, which is the fullness of love, and Hell, which is the fullness of hatred and makes us aware of God’s justice.
- Purgatory can be a place of purification, but it’s also a place for healing and rebuilding, to learn what true love is and remove obstacles for God’s love.
- Souls go to Hell because they freely reject God and His mercy forever and cannot stand to be in the presence of God.
- Souls go to Purgatory because they are not ready for Heaven. They are anxious to be purified of anything that is separation from God and that’s still staining them.
- God has Heaven wide open, but it’s the soul himself that knows their place.
- Purgatory is the mercy of God, but God would rather all His children go to Heaven. We can do that by accepting God’s will for us.
In the readings today, Jesus takes what seems to be a little from the widow and shows that she contributed more than any of the other contributors, because she gave all she had. Humanly, it may seem that we have only a little in comparison to others, but when we give of our littleness, it can be a heroic act and be very great in God’s eyes. It’s the act of giving that God wants.
In Mass, prepare to offer, your poverty, your littleness, your spiritual poverty, even your misery to the Lord.
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.” It’s striking, Jesus doesn’t say, well, she couldn’t give very much. He says she gave more than all the others. So, He is using a different measure, not the quantity of money given, but the generosity of the gift. He says, “For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth. But she from her poverty has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” And He with God’s perspective, is manifesting, what God needs from us is something much more valuable than money, and its generosity. And Jesus often uses material things to be a teaching about hidden spiritual things. And I think there’s a very encouraging message here for our spiritual life. Because we may feel very poor spiritually. And when you read the accounts of a lot of saints, you may feel kinda like they leave us behind in the dust, that could see beyond our ability, that sometimes they have such the intenseness and richness of their spiritual life that miracles that many performed, the sacrifices and sufferings, even martyrdom that many offered, and the mystical experiences, the tremendous mystical experiences that some of them had. And so, we can feel like that so far, from the poverty of our own efforts to follow Jesus. But the thing is, only God knows the graces that He’s given to each person. Some of these saints may have received extraordinary graces, which made it possible for them to do extraordinary things. So only God can judge how much a person is really giving, we can’t tell from the outside. And so, the point of what I want to share today is that we can give God very much by giving Him the little that we have. It seems that what we have is very little, if we give that little to Him, that can be very much for Him, it may seem miserable to us, but only God knows what certain acts might cost us. To take example, physically, of a young healthy athlete for whom even running a marathon may not be so difficult. And for another person, for person may be sick or injured, just getting out of bed may cause them a heroic effort. If a person, for instance, is worn out, something that is difficult, some will be very easy, for another person may be very difficult for them. Sometimes just the fact of not taking our own life can be actually a heroic act of faith. Just the fact of continuing to go on can be a heroic act. And so, one thing that Jesus is revealing to us here is that oftentimes the persons who feel the most limited, because of all the struggles that they’re going through, and they might feel they have the least to give. But the least able to give something may be actually the ones like this woman in the Gospel, who are actually, for God, giving the most. So, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others or compare ourselves to the saints and get discouraged, because nobody knows the graces that others have received and all the struggles that a person is facing. What’s important to God is that we give what we can. We had that passage, the passage right in the Hallelujah verse before the gospel, about the poor in spirit. When we feel very poor spiritually, instead of letting it discourage us, we realize that, like this woman in the Gospel, if we give that little, it can be very great in God’s eyes. And the gospel of John gives us another example, and this is not an elderly woman. In this case, it’s a young boy. When Jesus was teaching on the hillside and realizing that this huge crowd of 1000s and 1000s of people were needing to eat. What one of the apostles says, “there’s a lad here, who has five barley loaves and two fish.” But what is that, for so many? That is, it, it’s nothing for what’s needed. What the boy had was of no use for what was needed. And it’s interesting that Jesus, it seemed like it would have been more impressive for Him to do the miracle without those loaves and fishes. He didn’t need those, He’s God, and wouldn’t be any more difficult for Him to do the miracle without them. And it might have seemed more fitting for God just to do the miracle without them. But Jesus wanted that cooperation. He wanted that act, because it wasn’t the bread and the fish that He needed. But it was that generosity, the trust, the obedience, of the boy, giving that to Jesus. And so, what the boy did, which was so powerful, what was his secret? What was the secret to like we say today maximizing the potential of his gifts? In this case, the gift of having some loaves and fishes. What he did was he gave what he had to Jesus. If he hadn’t done that, he could have eaten the bread and fish and he could have maybe shared some with a few people that would have helped the few people, which would have been good, that would have been a generous act. But he did something more than that. He wasn’t just generous, he gave it to Jesus. He gave what he had. All he had he gave to Jesus. And that’s the secret. It wasn’t that he had very much, but the little bit that he had he gave to Jesus. And that’s where the secret of maximizing, as I say, again, our potential is to give the little that we have, the little that we’re capable of, to give it to Jesus, to place it in His hands. It might seem very little, it might seem worthless to us. It might be humanly worthless, like what that boy had, was worthless, considering the need. But what changed everything was he gave it to Jesus. And Jesus used it to act. I was sharing with you a few weeks ago, that passage where the Lord said to Saint Faustina as we reflected on humility, He said, “Give me your misery.” Again, nobody else wants our misery. But there’s no job application, which is asking for your misery. You know, that’s not what you put on your resume. Right? When you’re applying someplace, well, I have all this misery. They say, “Well, that’s great, keep it. We don’t need any more misery here.” So, nobody else wants our misery. But He is inviting us to give Him our misery, our poverty. Because the humility, the trust, the generosity that is involved. That’s what’s so valuable to the Lord. So, what seems worthless to us, when we give it with generosity, with trust, with humility to Him, takes on a devine potential, because then it’s in His hands. Then we’ve taken what’s ours, we’ve given it to Him, it’s in His hands, and He can do marvels with it. But what did Jesus not do? Jesus didn’t say, Okay, well, if that boy has those loaves and fishes, go grab it, and bring it to me. He could have done that, right. They could just grab it. He didn’t grab it. He waited and asked the boy and the boy gave it to Him. And that’s what God is with us. He’s given us gifts and waits for us to give it to Him. And if we don’t give it to Him, then we still have those but their potential, their ability to help, is very limited. But if we freely give them to Jesus, by seeking His will with our life, then He can begin to act through that. “Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the Treasury.” And so, with our Blessed Mother today as we come to this Mass, if you want you can close your eyes now. And as we prepare for the offertory at this Mass, prepare to offer, your poverty, your littleness, your spiritual poverty, even your misery to the Lord in this Mass, give yourself even if you feel little, even if you feel not very holy, even if you feel sinful, to give the little that we are, the little that we have, to give that to the Lord, so He can use it according to His power. Amen