Devoured

Note that both Jesus and the widow are in the background of the painting. The foreground features a religious official who resembles those Jesus described as liking to walk around in long robes and be greeted with respect.

“They devour widows’ houses…” – Mark 12:40a

“…But she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” – Mark 12:44b

So what was your expression, Jesus,
when you called your friends to see
the widow whose last coins had rattled down
into the treasury collection?

Did you watch with soft, approving eyes,
to see such faith, such generosity,
such confidence of God’s aloha
to relieve the crisis now at hand?

Or did your brow bear furrows
of concern, of worry, for her poverty
had now reached destitution, and
her final meal had clinked into the box?

Or did you grind your teeth to witness on
the Temple grounds the very thing
of which you’d warned? For here
a widow’s house had been consumed.

Oh, Jesus! Have you any teeth remaining in
your jaws? Or do you lubricate
their grinding with your tears? For still
the widows bring their homes… and we devour.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 12:38-44, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year B, Proper 27 (32).

The image is O óbolo da viúva (The Widow’s Mite) by João Zeferino da Costa (1876) – Scan: MNBA/Banco Santos catalogue, São Paulo, 2002., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15742896.

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