Abundance versus necessities (Lk 21:4-21:4)

“All of them

Have contributed

Out of their abundance.

But she has contributed

Out of her poverty.

She has put in

All that she had

To live on.”

 

πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that all of them had contributed their gifts out of their abundance (πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς).  She put in all that she had to live on (πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν).  Thus, she would be destitute.  Only Mark, chapter 12:44, had something similar, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus explained how this poor widow had given more than others, since it was not numerically correct.  All of the other rich people had contributed out of their abundance or overflowing wealth (πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον).  However, she had contributed out of her poverty (αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς).  She put into the Temple treasury everything that she had to live on (πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν), her whole livelihood (ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς).  This was a strange explanation.  This widow became destitute by contributing to the Temple treasury.  Was that a good idea?  Someone should have advised her to keep her money.  Was this a false sense of generosity?  Was this part of the idea of giving up everything for Christ?  Would you give up everything?

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The rich giving gifts (Lk 21:1-21:1)

“Jesus looked up.

He saw rich people

Putting their gifts

Into the treasury.”

 

Ἀναβλέψας δὲ εἶδεν τοὺς βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν πλουσίους.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked up (Ἀναβλέψας δὲ).  He saw (εἶδεν τοὺς) rich people (πλουσίους) putting, casting, or dropping their gifts into the treasury (βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν).  Only Mark, chapter 21:41, has something similar, but in a more expansive form, while Matthew did not mention this incident.  Mark said that Jesus sat down opposite the treasury (Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου), that was a room in the Temple.  This room probably had many large containers, probably twelve receptacles for the various Israelite tribes, to put gifts into.  He watched how the crowds of people put money into the treasury containers (ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον).  Many rich people put in large sums of money (καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά).  There is nothing extraordinary about rich people giving lots of money to the Temple treasury.  This seemed normal enough.  Do you contribute to religious organizations?

Second narrative

This second narrative centered around the Sermon on the Mount and the famous so-called Beatitudes.  The first beatitude was about poverty, while the second beatitude was about mourning.  The third beatitude was about the meek or the humble.  The fourth beatitude was about righteousness.  The fifth beatitude was on mercy, while the sixth beatitude was about the pure of heart.  The seventh beatitude was on peacemakers, while the eighth beatitude was on persecution.  There was a grand blessing for the persecuted Christians, who were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  They had to value and become the lighted lamp.

Next came the law and the prophets.  The law with all its commandments remained.  The righteous ones would not murder, nor would they get angry with insults.  They would offer their gifts at the Temple.  They would pay their debts and not commit adultery.  Jesus warned against the sinning eye and the sinning right hand.  He favored the traditional divorce stance, but warned about marrying a divorced woman.  They should not bear false witness, nor swear at all, since they should have a simple speech.  No longer was it an eye for an eye, but rather turn the other cheek with unusual kindness.  They were to love their enemies and their heavenly Father with a perfect love.

The followers of Jesus should fast and pray.  We should have piety with almsgiving.  Our charity and prayer should be secret with short prayers.  Thus, there was the famous “Our Father” prayer.  The first part of the Lord’s prayer was about God the Father.  The second part of the Lord’s prayer was about our human problems.  We should seek forgiveness and fast in secret.  We should not want earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures.  We need to have a healthy eye because we cannot serve two masters.

We should trust in Providence.  We do not need to worry.  Just look at the birds who do not worry.  The lilies of the field have more beauty than Solomon in all his glory.  Seek the kingdom of heaven first and you will not have to worry about tomorrow.

As far as judgment was concerned, do not judge the speck in the eye of your neighbor.  Be careful with your holy treasures.  Be seekers and give to your sons.  Pray to your heavenly Father and follow the golden rule.  The gate was narrow and there were many false prophets.  Know them by their fruits.  The sound tree has good fruits.  Cut down the bad tree.  Seek the kingdom of heaven.  Stay away from evildoers.  Wise men build on a rock foundation, while the foolish ones build on a sand foundation.  The crowds were astonished at the authority of Jesus.

The house of Israel idol worshippers (Ezek 20:39-20:39)

“As for you!

O house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Go serve your idols!

Every one of you!

Now and hereafter!

If you will not listen

To me.

But you shall not

Profane

My holy name

With your gifts,

With your idols.”

Yahweh was clear in his admonition to the house of Israel. If they wanted to serve their idols, they were free to go ahead and do so. However, if they did that, they were not listening to Yahweh. They were profaning his holy name. Yahweh was not going to receive their gifts or their idols because they were a profanation to Yahweh.

The worship in Jerusalem (Jdt 16:18-16:20)

“When they arrived at Jerusalem, they worshiped God. As soon as the people were purified, they offered their burnt offerings, their freewill offerings, and their gifts. Judith also dedicated to God all the possessions of General Holofernes, which the people had given her. The canopy that she taken for herself from his bedchamber she gave as a votive offering. For three months, the people continued fasting in Jerusalem before the sanctuary. Judith remained with them.”

When they went down to Jerusalem, they worshipped God as they offered burnt offerings and freewill offerings. Judith then took all the possession of General Holofernes that she had taken and gave it to the Temple as a votive offering. The people of Bethulia stayed in Jerusalem for 3 months fasting.