Reflecting on the Gospel for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

From The Gospel of Mark by Mary Healy, reflecting on Mark 12:41-44:

Jesus’ comments on the destitute widow are an example of the divine logic that overturns human ways of thinking. Who looked like pillars of the temple that day? Surely it was the well-to-do who helped make possible the splendid  adornment of Herod’s renovated temple. But it was different in the eyes of Jesus. Who contributes most to the flourishing of the Church today? Perhaps it is those who are overlooked and insignificant in human terms. This point brings to mind the story of the third-century martyr St. Lawrence, who was archdeacon of Rome and distributor of the Church’s alms. In 258, by decree of the emperor, the pope and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence the ranking Church official in Rome. The city prefect summoned Lawrence and demanded that he hand over the treasures of the Church. Lawrence responded that the Church was indeed very rich, and asked for a little time to gather its treasures. He then went all over the city seeking out the poor and infirm. On the third day, he gathered together a great crowd of orphans, widows, and people who were lame, blind, maimed, or suffering various diseases, and invited the prefect to come and see “the wondrous riches of our God.” The prefect was furious; in a rage he ordered Lawrence to be put to death on a gridiron over a slow fire. Lawrence is honored as one of the great martyrs of the early Church.

© 2008 Mary Healy and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


  1. frances farrugia says:

    Indeed, working in such places like Pakistan where poverty speaks so loud, our being with the poeple sharing their joys and sorrows makes it possible to enrich their lives and ours also with a very deep sense of the love of god for us all. People who live from hand to mouth are generous because they know that all they have comes from His goodness alone

  2. I very much enjoy your commentaries on Holy Scripture, but would it not be possible to include commentaries for the many of us who follow the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, which has a very different lectionary?