Commentary on the reading of the day provided by:  
Youssef Bousnaya (c.869-979),

Syrian monk

Life and teaching of Rabban Youssef Bousnaya by John Bar-Kaldoun

“There was also a poor widow”

Mercy is not worthy of praise merely on account of the abundance of its benefactions but when it proceeds from an upright and merciful mind.

There are people who give away and hand out a great deal but who are not considered merciful by God; and there are people who have nothing, who possess nothing, but who feel pity towards all in their hearts.

It is these who are considered perfectly merciful before God and, indeed, that is what they are.

So don’t say: “I have nothing to give to the poor”; don’t distress yourself by thinking that, because of this, you cannot be merciful.

If you have something, give what you have; if you have nothing, give with a truly merciful intention, though it be but a morsel of dry bread, and it will be considered before God as an act of perfect mercy.

Our Lord did not praise those who cast a great deal into the chest of offerings; he praised the widow for having put into it two small coins which, with an upright mind, she had taken from her poverty to throw into the treasury of God.

It is the man who has pity in his heart for his fellow human beings who is considered merciful before God.

An upright intention with no externl effects is worth more than many stunning works made without that upright intention.



“When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.

He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”” – Luke 21:1-4.