41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.
43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
During this time of lent, it would be prudent to reflect on being charitable and giving. Pope Shenouda, III teaches us that fasting should be accompanied by charity. And that he who hungers while fasting, sympathizes with the hungry. He even says that if you have nothing to give, then fast and offer them your food. Such is the importance of giving. We however have food in abundance. If you are reading this online, you likely have a computer and internet and it is therefore highly unlikely you are going to bed hungry.
After reading the passage about the widow and the two mites in Mark 12, can we really say that we cannot afford to offer any deed of compassion? Can we really say that we cannot do works of mercy? Saint John Chrysostom reminds us that no matter how “poor” we are, we surely have a “cup of cold water” to provide. “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). In whatever poverty we are in, we have feet, so as to visit the sick or the imprisoned. We have a roof, so as to receive strangers. There is truly no justification for not doing works of compassion.
“For you give to them indeed things here, but in return you receive heavenly things: which may we all obtain, in Christ Jesus our Lord, with whom to the Father be glory, together with the Holy Ghost, now and ever, and world without end.”
– From The Spirituality of Fasting by Pope Shenouda, III
– From Homilies on Hebrews 3:18 by Saint John Chrysostom