From Poverty

June 5, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:43-44)

FROM POVERTY: The following is a passage from the journal I kept when I traveled to Haiti in 2011 – a real life example of what it means to give from poverty.

Mass was generally only celebrated every 3-4 weeks at each of the small mountain chapels, since just two priests served two large parishes and nine satellite chapels. When there was to be a Mass celebrated at a given chapel, a bell was rung to alert the people in the area. The bell was rung two hours prior to the service so the people living in the area had time to prepare themselves and make the trek to the chapel. People needed to travel the mountain paths, many traveling 1-1/2 to 2 hours on foot, so they needed the advance notice.

When they arrived they were dressed in the very best clothes they owned – clothes they wore only for church services. Shoes were shined, although dusty from the walk. Little girls were in dresses and had bows in their hair; women wore hats and white gloves; men and boys wore ties and sport coats. They packed the chapel – a chapel close to collapsing following the earthquake thirteen months earlier. And they praised God with their enthusiastic responses to prayer. They raised their voices in song – singing loudly and with real joy. The Sign of Peace lasted 10 minutes as neighbor greeted neighbor warmly and everyone took time to make us – the strangers – feel welcomed.

Finally, it was powerful to see Scripture come to life: “this poor widow put in more than all the rest…” These very poor people reached into their pockets or into tattered change purses and pulled out a coin or two to drop in the collection basket – gladly and with smiles on their faces. It was not excess money, but rather money that would have gone for food or medicine. When the basket arrived at my seat near the back of the Church, there was approximately $7.00 total.

God was alive in that chapel.

This is an important message. What do we give of ourselves when we feel depleted? Do we leave the work of God to others or do we “dig deep” and bear our cross with the joy exhibited by these Haitian people?

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