Homily Thirty-second Sunday Year B Trust in the Lord

By 11:27 AM

Homily Thirty-second Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Elijah has prophesied earlier that God would cause a drought over Israel for three years because of the sins of the leaders and people. The prophet is led by the Spirit to Zarephath, a pagan town. There a divine encounter takes place: two desperate people, himself and a widow with a son. He is thirsty and hungry and she and her son are hungry and about to eat their last meal before the oil and flour run out.

Elijah first says to her: “Do not be afraid.” Elijah then asks her for a cup of water and then for something to eat. Remember she is a pagan, not an Israelite. The widow responds in truth, acknowledging the little she has just for herself and her son. Elijah speaks a word of prophecy, calling her to trust in God’s providential care for her and her son.  “If you make me a cake first, then the oil and flour will not run out until the drought is over.”

A desperate woman could have taken care of herself and her son first, but a woman of faith trusted in the word of the Lord to her and her child accordingly. She responded in compassion and trust. As a result, over a year the prophetic word was fulfilled. In choosing to be generous and to make a life-threatening sacrifice she was blessed.

It is easier to trust in God in good times; it is harder to do so in difficult and desperate times.

Reading 2: The author gives us the ultimate reason we can trust God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, not only have my sins been forgiven, but I share in God’s life and in eternal salvation.

Jesus’ one offering of himself on the cross for my sake out of love and in total surrender to the will of the Father has given life its true meaning. Now, we await for the second coming with eagerness. The completion of Jesus’ gift of salvation will only be experienced by those who eagerly away him. We are saved but our salvation doesn’t come to perfection until we respond to Jesus and at the moment of our death are still responding to him.

Gospel: Again, we have the witness of a widow given to us. In the Gospel we are given the contrast between the widow and the others making their offerings in the Temple. Like the widow in the first reading, she gave everything, trusting in the providential care of the Lord. She gave from her need, quietly and unnoticed.

On the other hand, the crowd gave from their surplus and maybe out of obligation to the law of tithe. But what they gave did not make them any more dependent on the Lord. The trust of the widow is the trust God is looking for from each of us—not that we give everything as much as we, in our giving, express our trust and dependency upon God. This is in response to the awareness that God has provided what we have.

The widow was not only materially poor—because she was a widow with no one to care for her—but also she was poor in spirit. She reflected the first Beatitude. True disciples of Jesus are able to make themselves vulnerable in front of God, able to give the best part of themselves. If we are humble like the poor widow, whose name no one knows, then we will be noticed by God, who will raise us and reward us according to our sacrifice.

How often are we afraid to truly trust God completely? What is it that I am still holding on to that prevents me from totally surrendering myself to God?  How dependent are we on the Lord? Do we give to him first or afterwards? Is God the recognized and acknowledged source of all that we have? Can I be as stalwart as the first widow and generous as the second? We can’t on our own but in him, who strengthens us, we can.

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