An elderly woman holding out a heart. The gospel for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B recounts how Jesus saw a poor widow giving everything.

About the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

November 10, 2024

The readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B challenge us to remember that all we have comes from God and we must be willing to give back. In the first reading a widow shares what little she has with Elijah, and she is rewarded with abundance. The psalm praises God for his generosity and mercy. The second reading Paul tells us that Jesus offered himself for our salvation once and for all. And in the gospel, Jesus observes the poor widow who generously gives what little she has to the treasury.

Jesus proposes the poor widow as a teacher of faith: the sound of her few coins is more beautiful than the grandiose offerings of the rich, since they express a life sincerely dedicated to God with unconditional trust.

Pope Francis

Counting our blessings, charity, and service are themes for this weekend.

Daily Mass Readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

  • First Reading1 Kings 17:10-16: “She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 146: “Praise the Lord, my soul!”
  • Second ReadingHebrews 9:24-28: “Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.”
  • Gospel Mark 12:38-44: “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.””

Themes for the Gospel

  • Generosity
  • Trust in God
  • Giving our whole heart
  • What are we holding back
  • Looking down on others
  • Drawing comparisons

See the bottom of this post for extended ideas related to these themes.

Resources for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Give It Your All Lesson Plan

This lesson plan helps youth think about how we use the gifts we have been given. We can use them to make ourselves more important or we can give the glory to God.

Penny Chin Game

In this icebreaker, participants try to keep a penny on their chin. Do we try to hold on to our money too hard in real life?

Prayer of Trust in God

This prayer is based on Psalm 146, which is the psalm for this weekend. It expresses a trust in God like the widow had when she gave her two coins.

Prayer for Generosity

This prayer asks God for the grace to be generous and to give all of ourselves to Him.

Social Media Graphic

For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’”

Give Something You Like to Charity

Instead of giving away something we don’t want anymore, we should consider giving away something we still like and use. That can help us understand the widow’s gift more.

Make a Gratitude List

This simple act can help us understand how much God has given us and how we must be generous with His gifts.

Homilies and Reflections

Pope Francis Reflects on the Poor Widow

Our Holy Father points out that we should give ourselves completely to God. We must not be stuck in rituals and appearances. God wants our whole hearts.

The Widows’ Faith

These widows show complete trust in God. The readings tie together nicely on the theme of faith. Am I confident that God will provide for me?

A Tale of Two Widows

Bishop Robert Barron points out that God reveals himself to these widows when they are in dire need.

Image and Face

We live in a society which is extremely self-conscious. This reflection encourages us to learn from Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Other Themes and Questions

During the time of Jesus there was a lot of pressure to fit in and take on the culture of the Romans and the Greeks, who were dominant at this time. How often are we tempted to give in to the pressures of our culture?

The scribes did not give in. Instead, they used the symbols and trappings of their faith to display their counter-culture. This made them popular with the Jews and gave them a sort of prestige of opposition. This made them appear brave and gave them a lot of honor among their fellow Jews. But did they do it because of faith or because they wanted honor?

The widow on the other hand had nothing to gain by giving away all. Her bravery is a different type. Nobody is going to applaud her for her sacrifice (except Jesus). The scribes sacrifice of being counter-cultural was not really a sacrifice because it gained them honor among their countrymen. The widow’s sacrifice was real and impacted her life. But she trusted in God.

The scribes gained wealth by teaching and putting on the external trappings of faith. And while this did not earn them any goodwill with the Romans, it did make them appear heroic in the eyes of the other Jews. The story of the widow’s mite shows true sacrifice. She gave before looking after her own needs, while the scribes gave to fill the needs of their egos.

So a central theme here is how much we are willing to give to God. Here are some questions this gospel might prompt in us:

  • Are we willing to give everything, including that which we could use to make ourselves look good?
  • Do we want to be seen when we are giving or do we try to give in secret?
  • Are we willing to be truly courageous in giving of our time, talent, and treasure?
  • Or are we holding back and only giving God our leftovers?
  • Do I compare myself to others and fall into the trap of feeling like I don’t measure up?






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