November 8, 2015
There is a story of six people who froze to death sitting around a campfire on a bitterly cold night. Each one had a substantial piece of wood that they might have contributed to the fire. But for reasons satisfactory to themselves each one refused to give to the fire the piece that they had. One woman would not give her a piece of wood because there was an illegal immigrant from Mexico around the fire,and why should she be responsible for him? A homeless man would not give his because there was a rich man there. The rich man would not give his piece of wood because it would warm someone who was obviously lazy and shiftless . Another would not give his wood because he did not see anybody there who belonged to his church. An African-American man withheld his piece of wood because he wanted to get even with the white man for what he had done to him and his race. As each person withheld his piece of wood for reasons justifiable to himself, the fire died out and all six froze to death.
This story was originally told in a poem that ended with these tragic lines
“Six logs held fast in death’s still hand was proof of human sin,they did not die from the cold without, they died from the cold within.”
This morning’s gospel is not a diatribe against wealthy people and their contributions to worthy causes but rather it is a commendation to generous people who give with warm and joyful hearts whatever their station in life allows.
The story of the six people who froze to death sitting around the fire is not a diatribe against the particular circumstances of any given class, religion, race or financial status, but a warning that unless we all contribute from what we have, and, no matter who we are, what we have is good and necessary, we will all suffer the consequences. We will die from the cold within.
So we must ask ourselves,” what is my widow’s mite? How generously and with what warmth do I contribute to my community, my society, my family and even to myself?”
There is a saying, attributed to the Buddha, “no snowflake ever falls in the wrong place”. There is a saying from the Scriptures, “for those who love God, all things work together unto good”,and also,”the Lord loves a cheerful giver.” Your widows mite, be it large or small, given from a generous and loving heart can do great things.