Wednesday is Remembrance Day. At the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month we stop for a minutes silence to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives for us.
I saw a video that was played several times on Remembrance Day. The scene was of a takeout counter in a supermarket. An announcement had just come over the public address system that at the sound of the bell all customers are asked to observe a minute silence. A young girl was handling the cash. She’d just finished serving a customer when the bell rang and she bowed her head. A man in a hurry – aren’t we all – put his groceries in front her and started to make a scene because she wasn’t ringing him through. He totally embarrassed her but she wouldn’t pudge. He was completely oblivious as to what was going on. His little daughter was trying to calm him down but he ignored her. The looks of the other customers could kill. How can this idiot be so ignorant? All through this pictures were shown of scenes from battlefield and a song titled – it’s only a smidgen of time was sung in the background. The message was, are we so busy, so important that we can’t take a minute to stop and think of and pray for those who gave their lives for us? Why can’t we spare a smidgen of time?
This song and that scene came to me when I read about the widow’s mite. Her temple offering was a smidgen compared the big donations of the rich and famous of the temples congregation. But Christ praised her – what some called her irresponsible generosity. She needed those coins for her own wellbeing.
There is a notice in this Sunday’s bulletin about your efforts to bring refugee families to Canada. Fr. Brando was telling me about you generous response to this effort. Check the bulletin to see the results. There are few big donations but most of the money is made up of what might be called ‘widow’s mites’ coming from a cross section of the parish. You are wonderful enough to take a smidgen of time to think of the thousands of men, women and children who are living in desperate situations and are doing your best to help these total strangers.
There are so many occasions when we are offered to take a smidgen of time and be aware of another person’s needs. In that smidgen of time we can offer our ‘widow’s mite’ to a friend or a total stranger. A kind word spoken to the person at the take out counter, holding the door open for a person, letting someone in in traffic, a phone call, a get well card, a smile, asking someone how they are doing, all these acts of random kindness can lift up a friend or a strangers spirits. They are like the widow’s mite that enriches the treasuries of other people’s lives.
I had an appointment at Sunnybrook last Thursday. I parked the car and started to walk to the front door. I don’t know what happened but I started to lose my balance and reached out to grab a railing before falling flat on my face. Luckily I made it. A woman was just getting into her car and saw my distress. She was right there for me. She told me to hang on to the railing and then hurried to the hospital entrance to get a wheelchair. She wheeled me into the hospital and handed me over to a volunteer and then she was gone. I don’t know who she was, I have no idea why she was at the hospital but she certainly made a difference in my life that morning.
A smidgen of time, a widow’s mite. As we continue to celebrate our Mass may we pray for ourselves and for each other that we take a smidgen of time to be grateful for the blessing of our own lives and conscious of the needs of others and may we be willing to give our widow’s mite to friend of stranger and make even a small difference in their lives, remembering the words of Jesus,’ In so far as you did these things to others you did them to me.’