Proper 27 – Series B
Today, the readings will return us to a familiar theme, one which has frequently occupied our attention. God is looking out for the little people. In the Gospel lesson Jesus watches the widow insert her mite into the offering box in the temple and notices her gift. In a reading from I Kings, Elijah is sent to the widow of Zarephath in Sidon, a woman who was so poor that she was preparing to eat her last food with her son, and then die. God noticed her plight and sent her a house guest, who happened to be a prophet. Of course, as we know, every morning as long as the famine lasted, she went to her bin of flour and jar of oil and found enough in there to make another meal. God has time and miracles for little people. He sees their mite-like sacrifices and their suffering.
There is another theme that runs potently through these two readings, and that is a theme of faith. The widow must trust Elijah the prophet, a man whom she has presumably never seen before. Rather than make the last of her food for herself and her young son, she is to make a little something for the prophet. The widow whom Jesus watches gives all she has. Both of these women are also examples of faith. They trust what is said. Now it can be argued that desperate people are sometimes better at believing than folks who are not desperate, but that is simply making the same argument Jesus made three weeks ago about the difficulty of those who are wealthy getting into the kingdom.