The scribe represents important, rich and influential people. The other, the widow, represents the least, the poor and the weak. In reality Jesus’ resolute judgment in dealing with the scribes, doesn’t concern the whole category, but refers to those that exhibit their social position, who are proud of their title “Rabbi,’ that is, teacher, who love to be waited on and occupy the first places (Cf. vv. 38-39). What is worse is that their ostentation is especially of a religious nature because they pray — says Jesus — “long prayers to be seen” (v. 40) and make use of God to credit themselves as defenders of His law. And this attitude of superiority and vanity leads them to have contempt for those that count little and are in a disadvantaged economic position, such as the widow….
Brothers and sisters, the Lord’s scales are different from ours. He weights differently persons and their gestures: God doesn’t measure the quantity but the quality, scrutinizes the heart and looks at the purity of the intentions. This means that our “giving” to God in prayer and to others in charity must always shun ritualism and formality, as well as the logic of calculation, and be an expression of gratuitousness, as Jesus has done with us: He has saved us for free. And we must do things as an expression of gratuitousness….
When we are tempted by the desire to appear and to be taken into account for our altruistic gestures, when we are too interested in other’s look and — allow me the word — when we are like “peacocks,” let us think of this woman. It will do us good: it will help us to strip ourselves of the superfluous to go to what really counts, and to remain humble.