32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

We have two beautiful homilies by Father Hanly for
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B:
“Giving With Faith” and “Giving Everything You Have.”

Two Homilies:

Giving With Faith

Giving With Faith

Father Hanly’s beautiful homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, is about giving from your whole heart in faith.

Readings for Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

  • First Reading: First Kings 17:10-16
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
  • Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
  • Gospel: Mark 12:38-44 or 12:41-44



This is a very short parable. When I started thinking about how to address it or what to say about it, I found myself getting longer and longer (chuckles). And then hearing it again, I realised that the message is very short.

We think, perhaps, that the message is one thing, but the message is not what we think first.

Because when we hear both of these stories …

The first is Elijah the Prophet. Elijah the Prophet was in the 9th Century BC, a long, long time ago, and it was a time of great conflict.

He was running away from Ahab, the king, because his wife, Jezebel, was trying to kill him for calling the Israelites away from the Canaanite gods and to return to their one and true God.

And so it was that he fled all the way up into Sidon, up where the Phoenicians come from, those great seamen of yesteryear.

There’s a little note here: the Phoenicians gave us the alphabet — a, b, c, d — so every time you say or write down English or many of the other languages, we are very grateful to the Phoenicians who some ten centuries BC, worked it all out for us.

Anyhow, he comes at a time of great famine and there was no food in Israel. And so he had gone up to Sidon to escape Ahab.

As he was entering the city of Sidon, he saw a widow lady and he asked her for a cup of water, and she brought it to him.

Then he asked for something to eat.

And she said, “I’m sorry, sir, but there’s very, very little flour left in my jar and very, very little oil left in my jug. And I have nothing except this. And I’m going to make a little meal for myself and my son, and then we’re going to die.”

Very, very terrible times.

We think these times are just exaggerated from the past, but we have lived through these times in many countries today. And we still live in these times of great want.

It shocked everyone, me anyhow, the United Nations declared a few months ago that one billion people go to bed hungry every night now in this world of ours. So this is something that is very important for us to remember.

Elijah, of course, is a man who trusts in God. And he says to her, “Don’t worry about it.” He said, “You just go and make a little cake for me and then I promise you that…”

And I’d like to read this part, because it’s a wonderful motto:

“For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry’”

In times when you think that you’ve lost everything, this is the time to write that out and put it in a little sign in the kitchen and it would read: “The Lord has promised you the jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.”

And so, suddenly, we begin to realise (inaudible), because Elijah stays with this woman for one year, and it’s true, until the rain came, the flour lasted and the oil lasted in the little jar.

Then, of course, we have the second one, The Widow’s Mite. But we understand a little bit more what the author, Mark, and Elijah, were trying to tell the lady, trying to tell her, both of these women.

For the widow comes into the treasury. Now she’s in the inner court of the treasury. The treasury is in the inner court of the very large temple in Jerusalem. And that is where they have these kind of trumpet like things you put your coins in when you come in as your donation to the temple for its upkeep.

And Jesus is sitting there and he sees that she puts in two coins.

They’re not worth really ten cents. It’s less than ten cents, two of these little mites. If you go to Israel some time, they actually have manufactured these little mites, you can buy a whole kind of little bag full of them, but it’s nothing.

And then Jesus calls his disciples to him and he says, “You see all those people putting in the thirteen trumpets all this money and everybody is in awe of it.”

And they kind of nod, yes.

And he says, “This woman has given thousands of more value. More than all that the men and the women have put into the coins in this temple, this woman has given. And she has given them to God.

“And that is because the only thing she had left were the two coins, and she put them in as her gift to God.”

What Jesus is saying is that the gifts that we give to each other, and the things we worry about, have nothing to do with the way God sees us and God sees the world.

Because the message is very, very clear. It is not what you give, it’s does it come from your whole heart in faith.

You see, without faith, the gift means nothing.

Because anybody can give from their plenty, anybody can give from their resources, but it takes a lot of faith to give everything you have away in this wonderful gesture.

And this is what Jesus wants to say: no matter how much money you give, no matter what you give to anyone, if you do not have faith — faith in God, that He will give the love that you feel in your heart to the one that you give the gift to — then it’s an empty gesture, it’s just coinage, it’s just from your surplus.

What he’s really saying is this: the value of the gift is in the heart, and when the heart gives, no matter what the gift is, how great or how small, if the heart gives it, then it is blessed in God’s eyes. So it’s not a matter of money or who has more or that.

But think of this now: Advent is coming. It’s the time for Christmas and we’re all thinking of Christmas and we’re all thinking of presents and going out and what are we going to give, etc, etc.

All very fine things, because we are welcoming the birth of the Child.

But what God is saying is, when you give those gifts, you must give yourself, you must give your heart, because it is the sacrifice in your heart that you give, and that is where God is to be found, and that is where God’s generosity is to be found.

There’s an old saying which is kind of nice. When I was a young man, my mother used to say…

I’d say, “Do you want me to make a lot of money when I grow up?” you know.

And she said, “No, that’s not necessary.”

And then we began talking about money and she said, “I never met a man who felt he had enough. No matter how poor or how rich he was, he never felt that he really had enough. Maybe a just little bit more, you know? Just a little bit more here, little bit more there, but never … Always …”

God says the little lady who gave everything away, she understood. To give, you don’t have to have anything, because God’s love will provide.

You say, “Well, this is kind of to be questioned.”

No, it isn’t. It isn’t.

We start giving in this sense, we start loving in this sense, when we realise it does not depend on coinage or things we have or demanding something in return. We give from a loving heart to the one who we care about.

This is the kind of love that Jesus had.

What did he have on the cross to give?

They took everything away, including his clothes, including his reputation. He had nothing to offer. It wasn’t the time to come singing songs and applauding and “Here comes the Lord” and all of this.

He had nothing to offer but his life.

And he offered it to his Father.

And how much value do we place on Jesus at the moment, stripped of everything, when he gave himself in love for our salvation and our healing and because he knew his Father only wanted one thing and that is our love.

So think about the widow’s mite.

She wasn’t so generous, because she understood.

If I give God everything, I just place myself in His hands and in His mercy, let Him take care of me, what will happen?

You say, “Nothing.”

Ah, but you’re wrong.

Because what the disciples learned at the breaking of the bread, what they learned when they fed five thousand people with just a few loaves of bread, it’s only when you begin giving that there’s enough.

But as long as you are taking and hoarding it, there will always be, “Well, not quite enough. Maybe a little bit more…”

So I think the message in this is not one of economics, it’s of spirit.

What God says is, “When you let go of everything, then you are ready to give,” because you’ll be giving the love, the faith that God has in you, to your brothers and sisters.

And only this is the gift, because this is the gift that Jesus gives to his Father and saves the world.

Giving Everything You Have

Giving Everything You Have

In this beautiful homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Father Hanly suggests that everything you have should be given away in one way or another — especially yourself.

Readings for Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

  • First Reading: First Kings 17:10-16
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
  • Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
  • Gospel: Mark 12:38-44 or 12:41-44



Today’s readings are from the Book of Kings and from the Gospel, the Gospel according to St Mark. They’re all about two women, two very famous women, two women that are separated by seven centuries.

Though they lived almost seven centuries apart, they are joined together by their faith, of course, and sacrifice and generosity and love — the four cornerstones of virtuous people who really should be always remembered — and yet their names are forgotten. Nobody ever took their names down. And yet we shall see because I’ll read what kind of ladies they were.

It doesn’t say this, but at the beginning of the First Reading, from the Book of Kings, Elijah the prophet comes first.

Elijah the prophet was a non-writing prophet, therefore he was not too well known in terms of years later when all the great major and minor prophets did their work.

Elijah was the beginning. And Elijah was such a great prophet that you might say, single-handedly, he dragged the whole of the children of Israel — who had gone astray believing in all kinds of things, in the Baals and got involved in all kinds of stuff — and he brought them back where they belonged, which was to the Lord God.

And so, even though he never wrote anything, he is considered perhaps the greatest of all the prophets.

And so today we find him at the very beginning. He comes into the Bible rather quickly. All of a sudden, there is Elijah, and he begins his ministry.

Now Elijah was on his way, going up to Phoenicia. Phoenicia, as you know, was the northern part of Palestine. And, on his way, he was leaving the centre of Israel for very good reason: because there was total and complete famine already for two years and this famine was considered by many their own punishment for turning away from God and worshipping all kinds of nonsense.

And so he was leaving Israel to show it. He also agreed that this was not the way God’s people should be behaving.

Now he went up to Sidon. In the city of Zarephath, he saw at the gate there was a lady collecting, a widow, she was collecting sticks. And the reason she was collecting sticks he didn’t know, so he said to her as he arrived at the entrance of the city, he said to her,

“Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
“Please bring along a bit of bread.”

Well, this is a kind of a very interesting way to introduce yourself, especially since Jews never talked to foreigners – this lady was not a Jew, she was a foreigner.

She answered, “As the Lord, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die”

because there’s nothing left.

Elijah says to the woman a very famous beginning,

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.

You know, these are the words that Jesus spoke to the disciples. He spoke to them when they became frightened when he had risen from the dead and they couldn’t understand it and they were worried that maybe they were seeing things, and he said, “Do not be afraid.”

Elijah then said to her,

Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. 

This is kind of silly to ask. Here he comes and first he asks for bread.

Now we all know how Jesus took the bread and blessed it and passed it out to thousands of people in one wonderful afternoon on the mountain to show that God was with them.

And this is what Elijah is saying: “First, I will show you, you must learn to give before you yourself take.” And he said, “And this is the sign that God is with us.”

God gives to us. And what are we supposed to do?

We’re supposed to give it to other people.

And this sort of runs all through the Old Testament and the New Testament as a sign.

“Do not be afraid,

For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,

Now this is the nice part, he said, “If you wait on me, you should prepare something for yourself and for your son,” you see. He’s testing her. She’s got hardly anything at all and he’s asking her for every piece of it for himself, you see.

Then he knows that she’s very upset, so what he says to her is…

She doesn’t really say anything, she’s just gasping at him – he’s going to take the last meal from my son and me.

And then he says to her, “Don’t be afraid.”

But then he says,

For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,

It rhymes, you see.

‘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.'”

And this is quoted again and again and again: “The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.”

And she looked at him and what happened was she not only thanked him, but invited him to her home. And for one year, the great prophet, she and her son and the prophet had full meals until the rains came at the end, and then he went on his way to another place.

If there’s any kind of lesson that comes from this, it’s the main…

Somebody once said if you have any little motto to put up, this is only for people who are poor and are frightened and they don’t have enough to eat, or they’re worried about this and they’re worried about that.

But you could make it in a larger sense just worrying about life. We were afraid that we were going to lose Hong Kong and it’s going to disappear, or something or other, and is it worth all of this, and blah, blah, blah, and on and on.

And Elijah the prophet would suggest that you put on your wall: “The Lord has promised you the jar of flour shall not go empty, nor jug of oil run dry.”

And the Jews look upon this, and the Christians look upon this, and in times of great trouble when everything seems to fall apart, nothing is going right, we must remember that it is God who directs our lives. And we must not panic, no matter how bad it gets, and we must not worry, because there’s nothing we can do.

But we must listen to Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid. There will always be God to take care of you.”

And that ends the introduction to the second one.

The second one today, of course, is the one you all know, is the widow’s mite.

If you go to Israel, you can get a whole bag of mites, little coins about this big. They’re worth about a halfpenny or one half of a halfpenny, almost worthless. But a mite, at that time, the widow’s mite, was something you could buy a meal with. That would have been a pretty cheap little coin. So remember that when we talk about the widow’s mite.

Jesus, now, is in the temple. And in the temple, there’s two parts. There’s the inner temple, which is more sacred. And before you go into the inner temple, they have like these horns, and you throw your money into the horn and it slips down into the basket at the bottom, then someone collects it. So that’s the way people used to give alms in the temples. They were outside the temple, but sitting there they’d pass the money through.

The other thing to remember is in the story is Jesus comes from preaching at the court of (inaudible) and he walks over and sits down and watches people putting money in these horns. And it seems like there’s a lot of attraction to see who has put in how much money into the horns.

Jesus sits there for a while and then that’s where the Gospel begins. It says,

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 

and then remarks that many rich people put a great deal, a large deal of sums into the horns, you know, as a donation.

And the poor widow came. And there she was a raggedy little lady and she put, in front of Jesus, who was sitting there waiting for her, she put her money, two coins, really not worth anything. And she put them down and then walked away.

And then Jesus called his disciples, he called his disciples. That means that this is for “all the people who will believe in me and listen to my word and care about me on through the ages, not just a few folks in heaven or say a few prayers in the temple.” And this is what he says to his disciples

“Amen, I say to you,

That means pay strict attention.

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 

That’s pretty big, because they were putting in large sums. It was the day before a holiday. Everybody was (inaudible) and some of them were very superstitious. You know: if you don’t give a lot of money then God’s going to do something terrible to you so you have no peace. And others just give it out of generosity and love.

Anyhow then Jesus continues,

” For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

That’s really special.

And the other thought is that everything (inaudible), taking everything you have and giving it away. (Inaudible). Because everything you have, you shouldn’t hold onto so that nobody can take it away from you.

Everything you have should be given away in one way or another.

Especially yourself. You have to give yourself away with all the stuff. And when you give yourself away, then the stuff doesn’t matter. And that’s the trick. It’s not a trick, it’s part of Christianity.

God gives, Jesus gives, we give.

How much?

Well, you can get obsessive about it and give everything.

And what do we say?

We honour you. We don’t say, “He’s crazy.”

But today a lot of people say, “If you do that, you’re crazy.”

You’re not crazy. If you give everything to others and to God then you’re like God. You’re like God because He gives everything to us and we give everything back.

A Christian is somebody who takes the love of God, the generosity of God, and the sacrifice of God, like Jesus on the cross, takes it all, and doesn’t say, “Thank you very much,” and then put it in the garage, he passes it on. He, too, now must sacrifice and love and give and all of these things.

And this is a wonderful example and this is why it’s said the way it’s said. Because Mark is a man of few words and he wants to say to you that God loves you so much He gave His only Son who dies for you.

But God loves. He never is angry. You know that’s only in comic books. He never is out to get you. He’s never going to make it miserable for you. God is a lover. And what He wants you to know is…

Especially as Christmas comes we celebrate a new-born child as the greatest thing that ever happened to this world. He’s so precious.

And how does he come?

With absolutely nothing.

And how does he go?

On a cross, with absolutely nothing.

And this is God’s life with us.

But the giving of nothing is the giving of everything, if the nothing that you give is your own heart.

And that’s the message that the little lady teaches us, who puts her two little pennies into the horn and says, “Take me, Lord, for I give you myself.”

FAQ for Homily for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

When is 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, in 2024?10th November 2024
What is the title of Father Hanly’s homily for Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B?"Giving With Faith" and "Giving Everything You Have"
What is the next homily by Father Hanly in this Liturgical Cycle?
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Who was Father Hanly?Father Denis J. Hanly was a Maryknoll Missionary
How can we find other homilies by Father Hanly?By Liturgical Calendar or by topic or by title

Information about Father Hanly’s homilies for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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If you would like to use our transcripts of either of these sermons (updated 2023), please contact us for permission.

Father Hanly's sermon for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, "Giving With Faith" was delivered on 8th November 2009. Father Hanly's sermon for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, "Giving Everything You Have" was delivered on 11th November 2012. It is sometimes hard to accurately transcribe Father Hanly's reflections, so please let us know if you think we have made a mistake in any of our transcripts, and let us have your suggestions.

We hope that Father Hanly’s homilies, always kind, always wise, always full of love, will restore you to peace and harmony through a new understanding of what is important in this world. We believe these homilies are inspiring for everyone, not only for Roman Catholics or other Christians.

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