Reflecting on last Sunday’s readings (see below) which gave the example of two widows as distinct models of faith, Pope Benedict XVI called on the faithful to put their trust in God. Zenit reports that The Holy Father addressed thousands of people who braved high winds and rain in St. Peter’s Square to listen to his Sunday Angelus address.
The Pope compared the widow from the first Book of Kings to the widow from the Gospel of St. Mark, saying that both women, who found themselves in a dire situation, demonstrated “a great faith in God.”
From these 2 biblical episodes, the Holy Father said, “we can draw a precious teaching about faith. It is about the interior attitude of those who base their lives on God, on his Word, and completely entrust themselves to him.”
“For this reason in the Bible, widows and orphans are people of whom God takes special care: they have last their earthly support but God is their Husband or their Father.”
Pope Benedict continued saying that according to Scripture, the condition of need is insufficient and that God asks for “our adherence in faith, which is expressed in love of him and neighbor.” The Holy Father said that both women demonstrated their faith through acts of charity: “the one towards the prophet and the other gives alms.”
“In this way they attest to the inseparability of faith and charity and love of God and love of neighbor – as last Sunday’s Gospel reminded us,” the Pope said.
Prior to the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Virgin Mary as the perfect model of those who entrust their whole life to God.
With this faith, he concluded, “she speaks her ‘Here I am’ to the Angel and accepts the will of God. May Mary help each of us in this Year of Faith and strengthen confidence in God and in his Word.”
1 Kings 17:10-16
New International Version (NIV)
10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Gospel: The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”