Scripture is very concerned about the least among us, because God is very concerned about the least among us.
Jesus directs hard words at those filled with self-importance, who say long prayers but then steal from the poor. He goes on to remind us that God is concerned about the frail among us, be it the poor, the homeless, the suffering, or anyone we would rather not notice or perhaps might be drawn to condemn. The truth is there can be no one created who is outside the love of God, and therefore there can be no one outside our own field of loving attention.
The gospel next Sunday will focus on the widow with two coins who gave all she had as an offering in the Temple treasury. Widows were the “invisibles” of biblical days – invisible because they had been disgraced by the loss of husbands and clearly had no remaining brothers-in-law to care for them, as was the custom. To be thus twice abandoned was significant for it was understood as punishment, as a curse for some unnamed deficiency.
The gospel tells us Jesus was still, that he sat down before the Temple treasury and watched what was happening. As a result, he saw things hidden to those who were busy trying to impress others. He reminds us to go about our business with care, to be watchful, thoughtful, and kind. In doing so, he is offering us the same opportunity already claimed by the poor widow – to inhabit God’s world and to be free.
As we live the coming week, we can choose to inhabit it as the scribes of whom Jesus spoke. We could strut about trying to command the respect and admiration of others, or we can pay attention to all that surrounds us, trying to see the world through the eyes of Jesus, seeing rather than being seen.
It is not an accident that those with few resources or who are of little account to the world are blessed with a clarity of spiritual sight we might well envy. We, who are often encumbered by too much “stuff” — of material, emotional, or physical nature — might do well to sit down and observe for ourselves what it is they have to share with us. They have much to teach us.
The Reverend Susan N. Eaves