32nd Sun B
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
In last Sunday’s Gospel, we were shown a scribe, one of the religious elite, who correctly understanding the commandments and hence the true nature of religion, was praised by Jesus as ‘close to the Kingdom of God’. This Sunday we see Jesus attacking the scribes for behaviour more typical of their group. They were practising their religion in an ostentatious manner in order to be feted, praised while at the same time, they were destroying the livelihood of the most vulnerable group in their society.
Jesus then goes on to give an example of how this takes place. Right outside the temple building was a box to receive donations. Obviously the wealthy had learnt well from the ostentatious behaviour of the scribes and gave their generous donations in such way that many knew what they had given. But great as their gifts may have been, they made no actual difference to their lifestyle. Into that toxic context comes a destitute widow and ‘she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’ Twice, he has stated the real enormity of her gift. You can hear both awe and shock at reckless abandon, the generosity of the woman giving to such a cause. The verses immediately after our reading, which have been included in the paraphrase, give the full context. The disciples, the country bumpkins we may say, are breathtakingly impressed with the temple buildings- ‘Look at the size of the stones, of the buildings, look, look.’ But Jesus sees another reality. These will pass, these will be destroyed. The cause to which both the wealthy and widow have been giving was a doomed venture. The true form of religion did not reside in the temple and its ritual but rather in the fulfilment of the two commandments of love – of God and neighbour.