Year B: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Mark 12: 38-44
In today’s Gospel, Mark shows Jesus as something of a “people watcher” . He has obviously spent time watching and listening to people, discreetly enough for them to forget he is there. He will have observed the comings and goings - seen how people relate one to another - and have gained a fairly good insight into people's behaviour and motives.
As a devout Jew himself, he would have attended synagogue and Temple and seen particularly how people conducted themselves in places of worship - and, perhaps the next day, bumped into them again in he market-place. He would have seen how some people loved to be seen and recognised as important and respectable - but perhaps, as a village carpenter, overheard conversations which showed that away from the places where they could influence people a different side to their nature would be revealed.
It is this close observation of people that made Jesus such a good judge of character - and caused him to notice things which other people overlooked. The area around the treasury would have bustled with people as they gathered to make their offering. Some would have made it discreetly - others ensuring that their contribution was noticed. Among them all - and, probably trying to hide the smallness of her offering - a widow with her two small coins.
Jesus takes in the situation and uses it to illustrate to his disciples the importance of being careful how one judges people. Yes, there are those who give generously and the woman’s offering is not going to go far - but proportionately, hers was the greatest contribution the treasury had had that day.
Jesus’ example of watching and listening can be a useful one for present-day disciples too. In everyday life, we meet people - see people in the media and, often are inclined to take them at face value. Sometimes, this may be accurate - but, as experience shows, our opinion of someone can vary according to how they are portrayed by the media or others. To sit back and take time to reflect before making a judgement about someone - or a situation - benefits us and spares us the embarrassment of having to change our minds!
What does it mean for me?
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