November 21, 2016
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
We are approaching Thanksgiving, when we will remember in gratitude all the blessings we have been given, recognizing that everything that we have is a gift. And true gratitude involves offering our gifts back to God, to be used in His service. That is what they are for. Truly, it is in giving that we receive, and He gives us these gifts so that we might have the joy of pouring ourselves out for others. We must first open our hands to receive them, drawing close to Him in prayer, allowing Him to fill our souls. And once we have received these gifts, we cannot allow ourselves to hold on to them with clenched fists—no, our hands must stay open. We must allow His love to spill outward. If we try and hoard His gifts, using them to serve only our own desires, we will miss out on their ultimate purpose and their greatest delight.
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. Tradition holds that Mary's parents, Anne and Joachim, brought her to the temple when she was just three years old to dedicate her life to God. She was the greatest gift of their lives, and in thanksgiving, they gave her back to God, dedicating every moment of her existence to Him. What an act of faith—and what a payoff! Anne, Joachim, and Mary chose an unselfish path, constantly fanning the flame of their love for God and growing in their ability to sacrifice for Him. They didn't hold back their most precious gifts from Him; rather, they entrusted to Him those things in particular, knowing that they were safest in His hands and that He would transform them for even greater good. Due to Mary's faithfulness and complete dedication to God, she was found worthy to be the vessel of grace and salvation for all the world, the mother of Jesus.
Are we willing to hand over our gifts to God, or does shortsightedness keep us from relinquishing control of those things that are most dear to us? Everything we have is safe in His hands. Let all that we have and all that we are be a living sacrifice to the glory of His Name—because if we think our gifts are good now, just wait and see what He can do with them.