Ephrem of Syria
1st Reading: 2 Tim 4:1–8
In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by the hope I have of his coming and his kingdom, I urge you to preach the Word, in season and out of season, reproving, rebuking or advising, always with patience and providing instruction. For the time is coming when people will no longer endure sound doctrine but following their passions they will surround themselves with teachers to please their itching ears. And they will abandon the truth to hear fables. So be prudent, do not mind your labor, give yourself to your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
As for me, I am already poured out as a libation, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with which the Lord, the just judge, will reward me on that day; and not only me, but all those who have longed for his glorious coming.
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44
As Jesus was teaching, he also said to them, “Beware of those teachers of the Law who enjoy walking around in long robes and being greeted in the marketplace, and who like to occupy reserved seats in the synagogues and the first places at feasts. They even devour the widow’s and the orphan’s goods while making a show of long prayers. How severe a sentence they will receive!”
Jesus sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people dropping money into the treasury box; and many rich people put in large offerings. But a poor widow also came and dropped in two small coins.
Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all those who gave offerings. For all of them gave from their plenty, but she gave from her poverty and put in everything she had, her very living.”
The poor widow was the only one from among so many worshipers who made retribution to God as he deserves. She was the personification of those countless poor, who have practically nothing but somehow find a way to give part of the little they have. The humble person is capable of sacrificing part of his paid time to study or participate in common activities in order to help his companions. The small salary he loses is worth much more than the big salary that wealthy people are not willing to lose. God calls on the poor before anybody else, because only the poor give all that they have to live on.
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