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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Expectations

"This poor widow put in more than all the rest." Lk 21:3

In our recent presidential election campaign, Mitt Romney angered and upset many people when a video of a meeting with wealthy donors emerged in which Governor Romney suggested that though 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax, they feel entitled to government help and support.

Entitlement is a dirty word in our culture these days, and for good reason. If people believe they need do nothing to receive help, it undermines the infrastructure of our country which depends on everyone doing his or her part to create a system that treats all people fairly. No matter what you think of Governor Romney or President Obama, when it became apparent that many of the 47% to whom Governor Romney referred were unemployed veterans, seniors and the working poor, his advisors quickly tried to explain his comments in a more favorable light.

One wonders, reading today's gospel, whether the rich to whom Jesus refers in today's gospel as not giving as much as the poor widow to support the temple, would want to explain their actions as well, but Jesus is not looking for an explanation. Rather, he is reminding those who manage the temple finances that the widow had a legitimate expectation of help since the Talmud directed observant Jews to care for widows and orphans.  That the rich ignored or dismissed the widow's gesture and goodness becomes a powerful lesson for the "wealthy" of every age.

Today, give from your substance.

Who has helped you when you were poor in Spirit?


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