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Canada Revenue Services, COVID 19 and the Widow’s Two Mites

Part of my time during the Covid 19 lockdown here in Winnipeg I spent trying to raise some money for a project to increase the awareness of the danger of this pandemic among villagers in Liberia in rural West Africa.

Going door to door in these villages students from the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation in Monrovia have found many people confused about the rumors they had heard and lacking hand soap, buckets and disinfectant to protect themselves.

On their part, many potential Canadian donors were happy to help but only on condition that they receive a tax receipt that they could use in filing their income tax next year with Canada Revenue Services. Happily, I was able to persuade the Canadian Jesuits International to sponsor the project and issue appropriate receipts, but the situation reminded me of the short narrative in Luke 21:1-4.

There were many benefactors to the Temple but only one received the approbation of Jesus. He was reported to have said about the better off donors and the widow: “for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

Needless to say, the poor widow did not receive a tax receipt if such a thing were available, nor did she want one.

When many people are suffering financially during the pandemic their generosity towards those less fortunate than they in Africa and other places is to be commended. But also the modern widows with their two mites are at the same time a testimony to freedom of the spirit without the hindrances of tax receipts or eventual pay back.