Thursday, 11 September 2014

St Luke 21:1-4

The story of the widow's mite:

1 Respiciens autem, vidit eos qui mittebant munera sua in gazophylacium, divites. 2 Vidit autem et quamdam viduam pauperculam mittentem æra minuta duo. 3 Et dixit: Vere dico vobis, quia vidua hæc pauper plus quam omnes misit. 4 Nam omnes hi ex abundanti sibi miserunt in munera Dei: hæc autem ex eo quod deest illi, omnem victum suum quem habuit, misit.

1] And looking on, he saw the rich men cast their gifts into the treasury. [2] And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in two brass mites. [3] And he said: Verily I say to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: [4] For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she had. 

Commentary (Catena Aurea)

GLOSS. Our Lord having rebuked the covetousness of the Scribes who devoured widows' houses, commends the almsgiving of a widow; as it is said, And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting into the treasury, &c.

BEDE; In the Greek language, signifies to keep, and gaza in Persian means riches, hence gazophylacium is used for the name of the place in which money is kept. Now there was a chest with an opening at the top placed near the altar, on the right hand of those entering the house of God, into which the Priests cast all the money, which was given for the Lord's temple. But our Lord as He overthrows those who trade in His house, so also He remarks those who bring gifts, giving praise to the deserving, but condemning the bad. Hence it follows, And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in there two mites. 

CYRIL; She offered two oboli, which with the sweat of her brow she had earned for her daily living, or what she daily begs for at the hands of others she gives to God, showing that her poverty is fruitful to her. Therefore does she surpass the others, and by a just award receives a crown from God; as it follows, Of a truth I say to you, that this poor widow has cast in more, &c. 

BEDE; For whatever we offer with an honest heart is well pleasing to God, who has respect to the heart, not the substance, nor does He weigh the amount of that which is given in sacrifice, but of that from which it is taken as it follows, For all these have cast in of their abundance, but she all that she had. 

CHRYS. For God regarded not the scantiness of the offering, but the overflowing of the affection. Almsgiving is not the bestowing a few at things out of many, but it is that of the widow emptying herself of her whole substance. But if you cannot offer as much as the widow, at least give all that remains over.

BEDE; Now mystically, the rich men who cast their gifts into the treasury signify the Jews puffed up with the righteousness of the law; the poor widow, the simplicity of the Church which is called poor, because it has either cast away the spirit of pride, or its sins, as if they were worldly riches. But the Church is a widow, because her Husband endured death for her. She cast two mites into the treasury, because in God's sight, in whose keeping are all the offerings of our works, she presents her gifts, whether of love to God and her neighbor, or of faith and prayer. And these excel all the works of the proud Jews, for they of their abundance cast into the offerings of God, in that they presume on their righteousness, but the Church casts in all her living, for every thing that has life she believes to be the gift of God. 

THEOPHYL. Or the widow may be taken to mean any soul bereft as it were of her first husband, the ancient law, and not worthy to be united to the Word of God. Who brings to God instead of a dowry faith and a good conscience, and so seems to offer more than those who are rich in words, and abound in the moral virtues of the Gentiles.

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