Jesus often notices the people whom others ignore. Today he notices a woman who is a widow; poor, and alone in the world. Though she has very little, this woman makes a real sacrifice to support the Temple. Jesus praises her for her generous gift. He contrasts the poor widow with the rich people, who may have donated more money to the Temple treasury, but gave what they had to spare; while she gave money that she could hardly afford.
The Gospel also invites us to compare this poor woman with the scribes – experts in the Jewish Law. Some of these men, Jesus tells us, loved to show off. Not only did they show off their learning and their wealth, but even their prayers were a show. Jesus can see through them, and warns them that they will be judged by God for their hypocrisy and pretence.
Jesus always sees what is in people’s hearts. He is not impressed by showing off, or by pretence. Jesus himself gave everything to save us from our sins. He asks us, like the poor widow, to share generously what we have. As the world faces up to the threat of climate change, we are challenged to respond generously and humbly.