The first reading at Mass today speaks of another woman ready to give of her little in an act of generosity and love for God. In the Gospel today, the widow offers her gift at the Temple; here she offers succour to God’s prophet:
Elijah the Prophet went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a vessel for me to drink.’ She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’ ‘As the Lord your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’ But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel:
“Jar of meal shall not be spent,
jug of oil shall not be emptied,
before the day when the Lord sends
rain on the face of the earth.”’
The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.
1 Kings 17:10-16
The goodness of these women is recorded in Scripture for our guidance and encouragement. It is also helps us to know any selfishness in ourselves.
The modesty and self-giving of the women can help us better embrace the life of loving sacrifice that should characterise the Christian.
The author Joseph Donders wondered whether Jesus was still mindful of this widow when he made offering of all he was and had in the gift of himself at the Last Supper.
Will we remember here as we accept the charge to go and do the same…
Image of stained glass window depicting Elijah. St Martin’s in the Bullring, Birmingham. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.