The context for today’s Gospel is the worsening situation between Jesus and the Jewish authorities. The first part of the Gospel today sees Jesus warn the crowds not to be like the hypocritical scribes in seeking honour and attention from others. Jesus denounces their hypocrisy of their false religious piety and warns that they will face a severe punishment.
Mark tells us that Jesus taught these things whilst in the vicinity of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is seated opposite the treasury and watches as the people make their contributions to the temple treasury. The pilgrims visiting the Temple in Jerusalem would make offerings of prayer and sacrifice but were also expected to contribute financially to the temple treasury.
Jesus observes how the wealthy put into the treasury great sums whilst those less well-off made smaller contributions. Jesus then brings to the attention of those with him the contribution of a poor widow, two small coins of very little worth to others but to her, all that she had. The widow put in all that she had, whilst the wealthy put in what they had spare. Jesus commends the offering of the widow because hers was an act of profound generosity, giving from her livelihood rather than her surplus.
This showed a tremendous faith in God on the part of the widow. She gave all that she had trusting that God would provide for her. It is not about how much money we have or can give or spare. What matters to God is that we give with love and faith. This can be financial, or it may be our time.
Very often, when we ask ourselves how strong our faith is, we probably say that we have a strong faith. However, when tough times arrive, we then find that our faith is perhaps not as strong as we thought. We need to trust in God, we need to give everything we have in His service and trust that he will provide for us in good times and in bad. The treasury of faith will always be more valuable than any earthly treasury.