Foolish Love

Soulwork Toward Sunday: self-guided retreat
Proper 27 (year B), November 11, 2012
“The Widow in the Temple”

detail, Old Woman Dozing, Nicholas Maes, 1656

I know it’s too easy to get angry with the widow for giving her money to the Temple. But I always get angry anyway. The Temple was corrupt. Surely she knew this. What did those pennies matter to the Temple anyway?

Where did she get the pennies? Does someone give them to her so that she might take care of herself, however temporarily? Does someone give her the pennies to help relieve the burden of similarly struggling relatives or neighbors who can’t afford to add the concern for her health, her food, her shelter to their own impoverishment?

Does she find the pennies? If so, maybe she reasons that God gave her the pennies. So, in her holy fool sense of irony, she gives God the pennies in order to let God know she knows God gave them to her. “Here, take these ! I found you out! These are yours!” The pennies are love-tokens.

The old widow trusts in God. The old widow loves God. Jesus, a holy fool himself, understands this foolish love. In the economy of the sacred this love is reckoned to her as righteousness.


2 Responses to “Foolish Love”

  1. davigoss Says:

    Jesus has just condemned the scribes for “devouring widow’s houses.” – Could it be that his main intention, here, is to point out that it is always the poor who are most oppressed by the system? In his book, “Binding the Strong Man”, Ched Myers writes: – “The temple has robbed this woman of her very means of livelihood … it no longer protects widows but exploits them … in disgust Jesus ‘exits’ the temple – for the final time.”

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