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32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): Math With Jesus

(Adults, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)

In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus and his friends are at the Temple in Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem is the most holy city for the Jewish people. Within the city, the Temple is the most holy place of all. Here in the Temple is the Word of God. Every day, people come from all over the city to pray. They offer gifts to God, the One who gives all goodness to us.

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.

This money is collected to help build the Temple. The Temple never seems to be finished. It can always be made to be even more special for God.

The treasury is the container for the money. People who study the Bible believe that the treasury is made of metal and shaped like a trumpet. In the time of Jesus, the people do not have dollar bills. All their money is coins. What happens when these rich people drop their coins into the treasury? Imagine the clatter! Imagine that sound! Everyone must turn to look. Who is giving so much money? Wow. We wonder if these rich people feel good when everyone sees how much they are giving.

A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.

This woman does not have large amounts of coins to give. All she has is two small coins. When she drops her her two little coins into the treasury, how much clatter would they make? Would anyone notice? Why does she even bother?

Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.

What can this mean? How can two coins be more than the large amounts of coins that the rich people are giving? (The disciples might begin to think that Jesus is not very good at math.)

Jesus explains:

For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

"Abundance" means "more than enough." The rich people have more than enough coins. After they drop their clatter of coins into the treasury, they go home with more than enough left over.

The poor woman does not have more than enough. In fact, she does not have enough at all. But she gives. She gives it all. After she drops her two almost silent coins into the treasury, she goes home with nothing left over. She has given everything to God, with nothing left over. This is why Jesus says she has given more.

Everything to God with nothing left over. This is what we heard last week, isn't it?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

and with all your soul,

and with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

This is the gift that the poor widow gives. With her eyes on God, and not on all the people around her, she drops in her coins. This is how she has chosen to love God with everything, leaving nothing left over.

Can we do this, too? What might our gift to God look like? How will we choose to love God with everything, leaving nothing left over? We might not know how yet, but we can learn from this poor widow. We will not make a great noisy clatter when we give ourselves to God. We will simply keep our eyes on the One who gives everything to us.

The poor woman's gift is not enough to build the Temple, but we wonder if it is enough to build a different kind of holy place for God. We wonder if her gift of herself is actually an abundance, and the holy place is in her heart.

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