The Last Full Measure
(32nd Ordinary Sunday: 1 Kings 17:10-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44)
“Here, my child, eat some bread while we still have it this year; because I don't know who will eat any next year if the wheat keeps up like that.” When the Beautiful Lady reminded Maximin of these words spoken by his father, the boy admitted candidly, “Oh, yes, Madam, now I remember. Just then, I didn't remember it.”
Mary appeared to a people who were down to their last measure of wheat, potatoes, grapes and nuts, staring famine in the face. But their faith was weak, and they didn’t know where to turn.
Such was the situation of the widow in the first reading. But her trust in the prophet’s promise inspired her to let him have her last measure of food. In the Gospel, too, another widow, of whose history we know nothing, gave her last measure of personal means to the temple. Jesus drew his disciples’ attention to her, showing the value of true generosity animated by faith.
In the second reading the author writes of Christ: “Now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.” This is Jesus as Mary shows him to us at La Salette: her Son, giving the last full measure of his love, the price of our redemption.
The crucifix calls us to do the same, to give not from our excess, but generously, of our resources, or time or talents. The more we recognize what we have received, the more we should be willing to share. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “The measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
It may be that we have none of those things to give. But we share in the priesthood of Christ, and in the Eucharist we offer what he offered.
There is always something we can do. Look at today’s Psalm. Among God’s merciful actions we find, “The Lord keeps faith forever... the Lord loves the just.” We can foster attitudes of trust, praying for those who serve others. We can forgive, and accept forgiveness.
The full measure may not be required of us. However, Mary pleads with us to submit to her Son, and to trust in her promise of abundant harvest and abundant mercy. What is that worth to us?
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.