The Gospel Today
Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)
Nanay Norma is an inspiring woman. She is my foster mother in my assigned apostolate. She is an octogenarian but she still has the strength to go about many businesses, especially in helping others. She wakes up very early to prepare the food for her only son and grandson. She does the laundry of the family and the cooking if her arthritis does not act up. She walks to the sari-sari store to buy the needs of the house before she goes out again and visit the different associations she helped build up.
In every association she goes to, she is revered and much loved. People would know and cheer her name every time she arrives to their gathering. Politicians would approach her in the crowd and kiss her in the cheek. “Who is this lowly woman, who is usually dressed in tattered dress and stained SM coat, loved by many but living in poorly condition?” I first asked myself. Her house was not hers before. She was an informal settler until she organized an association in her community to help her neighbors to convince the owner to sell the land to them. She was instrumental in providing housing for more than 100 families and she did it on her own out of her love and service for them.
How ironic that the people she helped get their land titles are the same people who are ungrateful to her by spreading rumors. When she asks for help in mending her house, no one seems to have the time. The first thing she said to me when she showed me her house was, “Pasensya ka na sa bahay ko” (Please bear with my house). Despite the state of her house which is condemned and dilapidated, she welcomed me in her home.
I witnessed how generous Nanay Norma is. I saw how she gave her whole self to others and to her loved ones, sometimes not leaving anything for herself. Despite her poverty, she gave aplenty. Despite her nothingness, she shared abundantly. All because of her undying faith in God.
I once asked her casually, “Where do you get your strength, Nanay?” She just smiled at me and with conviction she just answered, “Kay Lord.” Such a pure and simple faith. She entrusted herself to the Lord despite her poverty, her sickness, her problems. She believes that everything is a blessing from God that is why it is not hard for her to give and be generous. She may not have all the riches in the world but she is happy and contented. She would always tell me, “Kung mayroon ka, magbigay ka. Kung wala talaga, manahimik ka na lang at magdasal” (If you have something to share, share it. If not, just be silent and pray). This is from a woman who has no material wealth to pass on except her treasures of kindness and generosity. These are more valuable and something that not only her family, but also I, can learn from.
As a priest in process, I am inspired by Nanay Norma to entrust everything to God and just live a life of generosity and kindness without asking for anything in return; to give my whole self for His Church not out of surplus but my entirety.