daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Monday, Last Week of the Year, November 25, 2013
Dan. 1:1-6, 8-20, Dan. 3, Luke 21:1-4

"And he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living she had'" (Luke 21:2-4).

Here Jesus shows us a good example to imitate. Although this widow put less than all the rest into the temple treasury, Jesus praises her as contributing more that all the others, for she put in all that she had. "She out of her poverty put in all the living that she had" (Luke 21:4). She offered herself completely to God. This is why Jesus praises her. She kept nothing back for her own pleasure. Her life was totally given over and dedicated to God, and so Jesus praises her and points her out as a model for us to imitate.

Like this poor widow, we too are to offer ourselves completely to God and not reserve anything for our own pleasure. This is why it will be difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, for they are surrounded by the pleasures of the world. "It will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven ... It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt. 19:23-24).

The followers of Jesus, on the contrary, are to live only for God and for their neighbor for the love of God. Therefore they live a simple life of evangelical poverty, like this widow, denying themselves the delights of the world to find all their delight in the Lord. So they fast (Mark 2:20; Matt. 6:17). They serve only one master (Matt. 6:24), not God and also the delights of the world. They have only one treasure, "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:21). They do not divide themselves between God and worldly treasures, for they are crucified to the world, and the world to them (Gal. 6:14).

The followers of Jesus love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). They lose their life in this world by living only for God and by renouncing the pleasures of the world, and so they truly save their life with God; while those who try to save their life by filling themselves with the delights of the world lose their life with God. "For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it" (Mark 8:35). Indeed, "he who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25). We are not to love our life by filling ourselves with the delights of the world, for if we do, we will destroy ourselves. Rather we are to hate our life in this world by renouncing its pleasures. In this way we will truly save ourselves with God.

We will obtain the buried treasure, which is the kingdom of God, by leaving and renouncing everything else, living only for Christ, seeking all our delight in him. This is how the man who discovered the buried treasure obtained it, by selling all that he had to be able to buy the field in which the treasure was hidden (Matt. 13:44). We are taught by Jesus in this parable to do the same, to renounce all to gain the buried treasure, which is the kingdom of God. This is the narrow and difficult way that leads to life, a way that few find. It is not the wide and easy way of the many that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). This is the way that will receive the hundredfold reward, the way of leaving mother, father, sisters and brothers, wife and children for the love of Christ (Matt. 19:29 NKJV).

On the other hand, those who live a life of self-indulgence have already had their reward in this world. "Woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation" (Luke 6:24). But "blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God" (Luke 6:20). "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). Therefore we live a simple life of evangelical poverty, of prayer and fasting and renunciation of the worldliness of the secularized culture around us.


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