Gospel: Mark 12:38-44

Gospel: Mark 12:38-44

Theme: The Widow’s Generosity

In the Gospel Jesus praises the generosity of the widow.  He contrasts her humility with the vanity of the scribes, whose good works were a sham.  The widow’s generosity was like that of the woman who gave hospitality to the prophet Elijah. 

Questions for Group Reflection:

 – When have you observed someone like the widow who “gave all that they had?”

 – When have you experienced the generosity of someone who themselves had very little?

Reading: Mark 12:38-44

Prayer (use to begin class)

Almighty Father, strong is your justice and rich is your compassion,

May we so care for others,

That we never miss an opportunity

To help a person in need.    Amen


“If you are not generous with a meager income, you will never be generous with abundance.”  (Harold Nye)

Delving Deeper

Sometimes those who have the least are the most generous with the little they have and show the greatest hospitality or generosity.  In some way having a lot or being rich can prevent one from being free and generous.  Having a lot can prevent one from moving beyond the preservation and accumulation of this wealth.  So much of the economic injustice in our world seems to arise from those who have a lot and seek to preserve it or increase it rather than share it.  Our wealth can prevent us from focusing on the common good.

In the story about the widow, Jesus challenges those around him to look at their own practices and behavior – the priorities of their own life – their own unfreedom concerning possessions. The spirit of Jesus invites people to let go of what they have so as to be really free and alive.

Backing Story

There are many versions of this story about a fisherman in a small village & a wealthy businessman:  This one is taken from:


There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asks, “And after that?”

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?