Copper is worth so much money now-a-days. Copper wiring, copper pipes are items regularly stolen from construction sites (and elsewhere) because of its value to people who trade in that commodity. Our pennies now have more zinc in them than copper because of the cost involved in utilizing copper in the production of our one cent coin. So the ending of today's Gospel, with the poor widow giving two coppers as gift to the treasury, perhaps, does not ring with as much authority as it might if copper were looked at as nearly worthless, as it was 2000 years ago.
Wealth, abundance, scarcity are all matters of perception, but also of the heart....of our true intentionality. Jesus is watching what is going on around the Temple and sees great wealth and abundance, a sense of self- satisfaction and self-indulgence that he finds disgusting. And then he sees this quiet, poor widow put in all she had to serve the greater good. To that widow, those copper coins where not proof of the scarcity of her wealth, they were palpable, tangible and concrete parts of her abundant life, her deep generosity. She was "all-in" as they say in cards. The worth of those copper pennies to her was something far different than the giving of those who had more and who gave less.
Where within ourselves and our lives can we reach to, gain an understanding and give to others so that we are "all-in" aiding in the creation of this Kingdom Jesus proclaims by the usage of this copper coin metaphor? Jesus is not just talking about money here. Those copper coins are a metaphor for a richer understanding of the wealth and abundance we have in our lives. Those coins are representative of how we can operate in the world, not from a place of scarcity, or lamenting what we do not have, but from a place of graceful thanksgiving for what we do have......and a generosity of spirit and heart allowing us to share that wealth with all those around us.....pushing all those coins to the center of the table.
What a gift this reading is for this Holiday Season.....for this Advent Season.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.