Homily – November 7, 2021

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the book, Angela’s ashes. It’s about the dire poverty and hunger of the poor in Limerick, in Ireland. When there was knock on the door at mealtime no one was ever turned away, they just a little more water to the stew.

Today’s scriptures tell the story of two widows, living centuries apart. The only thing they have in common is an open heart to the needs of others.

The prophet Elijah intruded into this widow’s life and asked for bread. She explained her own situation; she had handful of meal in a jar and a little oil for cooking a final meal for her son and herself. Elijah made her a promise; if she shared the little she had, then the jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the drought is over.

Jesus praises the widow he sees in the Temple. She drops her copper coins into the collection basket, trusting they will be put to good use. It was all she had, but she was willing to help those who were worse off than herself. These two widows share a common kindness, an open heart to those who share their poverty.

This ever present pandemic has turned our lives upside down. We never imagined theaters closed, restaurants closed, family gatherings discouraged, weddings and funerals with limited attendance. Whoever imagined working from home would be the normal or teaching on line? What will the next normal be?

So many people are just stressed out waiting for new guidelines for the future.

We all want to discover new ways to reconnect, to be there for one another. A phone call, an email would be great.

I think we’re all familiar with the image of the lone wolf, the predator searching for its prey. But wolves never travel alone, they travel in packs and as they travel they bump into one another, nudge one another just to let one another know they are not alone, I’m with you.

Can there such a thing as a ‘lone Christian? I hope not.

Maybe this is one way of coming out of this pandemic, letting family and friends and strangers know they are not alone.

Many people’s financial security has been impacted by this virus. Bars and restaurants, small businesses were closed never to reopen.

Government was there to help, but that will change.

Here’s our reality as a parish.

From now on until Christmas you’ll be inundated with appeals for help. Just check the bulletin and see the appeals for Christmas food, Christmas clothing, and Christmas toys. Our St. Vincent de Paul men and women have so many requests for help at this time of year and the number of needy men and women and families never goes down. It’s the same for the Salvation Army, the Scott Mission, and The Good Shepherd Refugee.

Some people may resent all these appeals, ignore them. Our past Christmases appeals prove that’s not true here. Your past generosity gives great promise.

Today’s widows offer us an example. They had open hearts to the needs of others.

In these coming weeks before Christmas may we, as a parish family, be gifted with open hearts and open hands.