Friday, November 6, 2009

Daily - 10/6/09

Mark 12:38-44

38 In the course of his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces,

39 seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.

40 They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."

41 He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.

42 A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.

44 For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

We get two lessons from Christ in this passage, one regarding the difference between looking pious and acting pious, and the other regarding almsgiving.

Regarding the Scribes, the Venerable St. Bede puts the lesson in terms we can all take home:

Venerable St. Bede (7th-8th centuries): We must observe that He does not forbid that those, to whom it falls by the rule of their office, should be saluted in the marketplace, or have chief seats and places at feasts, but He teaches that those who love those things unduly, whether they have them or no, are to be avoided by the faithful as wicked men: that is, He blames the intention and not the office; although this too is culpable, that the very men who wish to be called masters of the synagogue in Moses’ seat, should have to do with lawsuits in the marketplace. We are in two way ordered to beware of those who are desirous of vain glory; first, we should not be seduced by their hypocrisy into thinking that what they do is good; nor secondly, should we be excited to imitate them, through a vain rejoicing in being praised for those virtues which they affect. (Link - Catena Aurea - Mark 12 )

Here's what he has to say on the second lesson:

Bede: God does not weigh the property but the conscience of those who offer; nor did He consider the smallness of the sum in her offering, but what was the store from which it came.
Wherefore He adds, “For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

If you're interested in learning more about the Venerable St. Bede, see the link below.

Catholic Encyclopedia - the Venerable Bede