Just one piece of news for today’s column as my day has been divided into preparing spots to air on “At Home with Jim and Joy” (be sure to tune in tonight, 2pm ET) and working on a special project for EWTN for tomorrow’s visit by Pope Francis to Prato and Florence.
As I finished filming near Castel Sant’Angelo, someone tapped my shoulder and to my great joy it was Francesco, the magical, talented chef at La Scaletta degli Artisti, just behind Pza. Navona. My producer Martha took this photo of my Bill Murray look-alike friend (when Murray was younger!).
Yesterday, as I’m sure you have already seen, I did post the Holy Father’s post-Angelus remarks about the stolen and leaked confidential Vatican documents, given the importance of this event, that he called “a crime,” and the Pope’s words. Below are his reflections before praying the Angelus.What a great lesson he teaches this week!
A WIDOW’S MITE, THE IDEAL MODEL OF A CHRISTIAN
Pope Francis began his Angelus reflections yesterday in a very personable way, as is his custom, greeting the huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square on a mild, springlike November Sunday with, “Dear brothers and sisters, good morning… on such a beautiful, sunny day!
He began by noting that “the Gospel passage of this Sunday is composed of two parts: one that describes how not to be followers of Christ; the other proposes an ideal model of a Christian.” In that second part of the Gospel message, Francis notes that, “The scene is set in the temple of Jerusalem, precisely in the place where people threw coins as offerings. There are many rich people who pay a lot of money, and there is a poor woman – a widow – just contributing two mites, two small coins. Jesus observes the woman carefully and calls the attention of the disciples to this sharp, contrasting scene.”
Jesus tells his disciples, saif the Pope, that, “while the rich have given with great show what for them was superfluous, the widow, with discretion and humility, gave all she had to live; for this reason, she gave the most of all. Because of her extreme poverty, she could have offered a single coin for the temple and keep the other for herself. But she does not want to just give half to God; she deprived herself of everything. In her poverty she understood that having God, she has everything; she feels totally loved by Him and in turn loves Him totally. What a beautiful example this old woman offers us!
Emphasizing the message given in the account of the widow’s offering to the tmple, Pope Francis then told a personal story:
“Allow me to tell you a story that happened in my previous diocese. It is about a mother with her three children. The father was at work and the family was at table eating veal cutlets alla Milanese. Just then someone knocked at the door and one of the children – the young one who was five or six years old – the oldest was seven years old – came and said, “Mom, there’s a beggar at the door who is asking for some food.” And the mother, a good Christian, said, “What should we do?” “Give him some food” they said. “Ok.” She took the fork and knife and cut each person’s cutlet in half. “Oh no, Mom! Not like this! Take something from the refrigerator!” “No, we will make three sandwiches like this!” And thus the children learned that the meaning of true charity means that you give not from what is left over but from what we need. I am certain that that afternoon they were a bit hungry, but this is the way to do it.”
And, said the Holy Father in his explanation of the ideal Christian, “Let us ask the Lord to admit us to the school of this poor widow, whom Jesus places in the teaching chair and presents as a teacher of the living Gospel even in the bewilderment of the disciples. Through the intercession of Mary, the poor woman who has gave her life to God for us, ask for the gift of a poor heart poor, but rich in generosity that is happy and free.”
As he does every Sunday, the Pope concluded the Angelus by asking for prayers and then he saluted the faithful with, “Buon appetito!”