Memorial: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury.” (Luke 21:1.)

Saint Cyprian of Carthage comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“You that are rich cannot do good works in the church, because your eyes, saturated with blackness and covered with the shadows of night, do not see the needy and the poor. Do you, rich and wealthy, think that you celebrate the Lord’s feast? You do not at all consider the offering. You come to the Lord’s feast without a sacrificial offering and take a part of the sacrifice that the poor offered. Look in the Gospel at the widow mindful of the heavenly commandments, doing good in the very middle of the pressures and hardships of poverty. She throws two mites that were her only possessions into the treasury…. She was a greatly blessed and glorious woman, who even before the judgment day merited to be praised by the voice of the Judge. Let the rich be ashamed of their sterility and their misfortunes. A poor widow is found with an offering. Although all things that are given are given to orphans and widows, she who should receive gives that we may know what punishment awaits the rich person. By this teaching, even the poor should do good. We should understand that these works are given to God and that whoever does these deserves well of God. Christ therefore calls these “gifts of God” and points out that the widow has placed two mites among the gifts of God, that it can be more apparent that he who pities the poor lends to God.” (Works and Almsgiving, 15.)

As we venerate the glorious memory
of the most holy Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray, O Lord,
through her intercession,
that we, too, may merit to receive
from the fullness of Your grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen