In our gospel this weekend, we read about the poor widow’s donation of two small coins. During the week of the Passover, upwards of 10,000 pilgrims came through the temple of Jerusalem. For some, it was the visit of a lifetime. Some brought sizeable contributions from relatives and Jewish communities as far away as Spain to the west and Persia to the east.
The annual operation of the temple depended on these Passover contributions which probably brought in the equivalent of millions of dollars. During the Passover at the temple, priests positioned themselves by the collections boxes and blew trumpets when a sizeable donation was placed in the coffers. Today the phrase “to blow one’s own trumpet” refers to a person who boasts of their own achievements. To be sure, the poor widow’s contribution received no fanfare or notice from anyone … except Jesus. The evangelist Mark deliberately draws our attention to the fact that the widow put in both coins, to remind us of the fact that she could have held back one coin for herself, but chose not to, trusting that God would provide, as the responsorial psalm today reminds us, God “upholds the widow and the orphan.”