Our “efficiency” side usually comes up with statements like that. But to be honest, that’s really the kind of question we would expect from Judas, the keeper of the purse. Jesus is not looking at this scene from the viewpoint of a bookkeeper. Instead he is looking at the hearts of the people involved. There is a huge difference between the humble gift of self and the self-serving donations of greedy hypocrites (such as the Scribes that Jesus was describing).
Seeing that poor widow, Jesus must have been reminded of his own mother, who was also a widow by that time. Mary did not hold anything back but gave her whole self to God, including her will – especially when she gave her unconditional “Yes” at the Incarnation. Her whole life was a donation to God! She gave her only son to the Father, presenting him in the Temple after his birth. She gave him to the world, for the world’s redemption at Calvary.
Compare your own “donation” to that of the two widows in today’s readings, and also that of Mary. Have you given yourself fully to Jesus? Were there strings attached? Can you become a ‘widow or “widower”’ trusting fully in God’s providence? What are your priorities?
There has been a lot in Federal Parliament and in the news media about Parliamentarians, their perks and so on, so I might be tempted to suggest what their motivations might be, but I will resist the urge. Jesus has made the point very clear. This gospel teaching is all about the interior motivations that guide our actions or inactions. The warning from Jesus is about how severe the judgement will be for those who make deceptive choices.
The Church’s love for the poor is modelled on Jesus’ love, and is a part of her constant tradition. It extends not only to material poverty, but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty. On the last day, our attitudes about our neighbour will reveal our acceptance or refusal of divine grace and love.