Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Daniel 1:1-6.8-20; Luke 21:1-4)
Babette’s Feast is a short story and later movie that tells the story of the sacrifice of a widow. The woman lost her family and livelihood as a chef in a political insurrection. She comes to live with two matrons who lead a small Protestant congregation. The woman wins the lottery and spends all her award to prepare a lavish banquet for the community. The feast transforms everyone present; their ordinary pettiness turns into gracious magnanimity. All come to see life as radiating God’s goodness. The widow in the story is seen as an image of Christ. She also reflects the widow of today’s gospel.
The poor widow contributes her last pennies to the Temple in an obvious demonstration of devotion. The scene prefigures Jesus’ own sacrifice on the cross which will take place in a few days. “How will she live?” one wants to ask. She does not worry, however, because she knows that God provides for those who love Him. She will thrive just as Jesus does in the resurrection.
As we approach the great Christian feasts at the end of the year, we should keep both widows and certainly Jesus in mind. We are wise to see the bounty that we share as part of God’s gift. And we need to ask how we may give ourselves to Him in thanksgiving.