In the first reading, we meet the prophet Elijah whose story revolves around his deadly conflict with the corrupt king Ahab. Much of the story recounts Ahab’s pursuit of Elijah and Elijah’s narrow escapes. In his desperation, while on the run, Elijah is forced to recruit the aid of a poor widow who is reluctant to provide much help because her own resources are so meager. But miraculously, who would have thought, her reluctant generosity leads to an abundance of supply.
This story is the obvious background for Mark’s tale of Jesus’ meeting a poor widow in the Temple courtyard. Even Jesus is impressed with the generosity of this woman who gives out of her meager resources.
In the second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews continues drawing the contrast between the sacrifice offered in the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the sacrifice that Christ offered of himself. The offering Christ makes of himself is the definitive action through which God embraces us with his mercy and reconciles us to himself.
—Walter Modrys SJ
This Sunday’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.