JESUS INVITES US TO BE LIKE THE WIDOW
The situation of widows in many patriarchal societies is not an easy one, especially when she depended completely on her husband for her livelihood. When a husband dies his widow can find herself without any source of income. She is easily exploited by the relatives of her dead husband who may take away everything, pretending it all belonged to him. She is often left with very little for herself and her children to live on. For such a widow it was important that she use whatever resources she had carefully.
Mark presents the woman in the gospel as a poor widow and the point is repeated by Jesus as he draws the attention of his disciples to her. That is why she cannot give to the treasury as much as others, only “two small coins”.
That a poor widow give just a few pennies seems normal. For Jesus it is an abnormal, extraordinary gift. From her poverty she gave “everything she possessed, everything she had to live on” . Her generosity has made her vulnerable. She will have to count on the generosity of others to survive. She can support neither herself nor her family any more. She has done something radical. She has offered herself totally to GOD and shows that she depends on GOD completely. Her generosity is not calculated. It is free and total.
Jesus invites his disciples to imitate her. They are still trying to understand why Jesus will give himself totally in his suffering. Their own concern is about honor and privileges rather that bout total self-giving. Now as they get closer to the moment of the passion, death and resurrection, the example of the widow will help them realize that such total self-giving is possible for everyone, even for the poor and the weak such as themselves and the widow.