2 Timothy 4:1-8
A Little Stone Rejected
Today's gospel from Mark concludes our yearly reading of Mark in the weekday lectionary. We have ended on a very profound note. We can see this past week's readings as a reflection on love. Beginning with the parable of the vineyard owner's son who is put to death, to the answer that we ought to render to God what is God's, and the Greatest Commandment, the theme of love runs through them and our generous widow includes them.
The widow today is a visual example of love. Her two coins, all she possesses, are her offering to God. It shows us where her treasure lies, to what her heart is directed. If all belongs to God, as we heard questioned in the ‘what goes to Caesar/God discussion', we see that she knows with her heart the answer. Poor she might be, but she loves God with her whole heart.
Mark may also be telling us something this woman's strength. Our week began with the parable of the love of the father who sends his son. Why this persistence on his part? Could it be the desire to open up communications? So far in the parable there has been no sharing. But the son is killed and they dragged him outside the vineyard. This stone, rejected becomes the cornerstone. It is marvelous! So we can see the love of the Passion.
But the one killed is dragged outside the vineyard. What was dearer to God than the place where the Vine of David was nourished, Jerusalem, the place of the temple in which was housed the Holy of Holies. We see our widow also in the temple, there showing us herself as woman radiant with love for God. She stands against the scribes who like to parade around in their robes and who devour the savings of widows. Like Jesus she is also a target in the holy place.
As we end Mark today we have a heroine to remember. She is a lover who has given her heart to God; it is visible in what she does. And she imitates Jesus; she is a suffering servant. Recognized by Jesus, she is not nourished or cared for in the vineyard of the Lord as she should be. She is maybe just a little stone, but none the less a foundation that helps us all today. May we draw strength from her example of love and join the many little stones to be foundation for the feet of fellow pilgrims.
Fr. William Murphy, CP, is pastor of St. Joseph's Monastery parish in Baltimore, Maryland.