Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Boniface, B.M. (05th June, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial


Tob 12:1.5-15.20;

Tob 13:2.6-8. (R. v.1);

Mk 12:38-44.

Saint Boniface (c. 675–754)[1], known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes. On his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II, paganism was a way of life. What Christianity he did find had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error. The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops. In particular instances their very ordinations were questionable. The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church and gave him letters to the religious and civil leaders. He was made a regional bishop and authorized to organize the whole German Church. In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control. During a final mission to the Frisians, Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for confirmation.[2]

Topic: Widow’s mite.

Often people talk about widow’s mite especially while giving. We see that widow in today’s gospel. As Jesus watched the crowd putting money into the treasury, “Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny” (Mk 12: 41-42).

Jesus said to His disciples,

Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on (Mk 12:43-44).

William Barclay rightly draws some lessons from this poor widow’s offering: Real giving must be sacrificial. The amount of the gift never matters so much as its cost to the giver, not the size of the gift, but the sacrifice. Again, Real giving has a certain recklessness in it[3].

Therefore, an offering cannot be correctly tagged ‘widows mite’ based on the amount but based on what the giver has. Hence, Saint Paul writes: “the gift is acceptable according to what one has–not according to what one does not have” (2Cor 8:12). Give in relation to what God has blessed you with. We are celebrating Saint Boniface today because he offered himself entirely.

Bible Reading: 1Cor 12:1-30; 2Cor 8:1-15; Heb 12:14-28; 13:5-6; Ps 49:5-20.

Thought for today: Do you give to God sacrificially?

Let us pray: God our Father, help us to offer to you and to our neighbours in relation to what we have – Amen.

Saint Boniface – Pray for us.

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[3] Barclay, W. (2006). The daily study bible: The gospel of Mark. Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, pp. 302-303.

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