Father Alex Yeung, LC
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous
deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you
will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When
you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before
you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in
the streets to win the praise of others. Amen,
I say to you they have received their reward.
But when you give alms, do not let your left
hand know what your right hand is doing, so
that your almsgiving may be in secret. And your Father
who sees in secret will repay you. When you
pray, do not be like the hypocrites who love
to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street
corners so that others may see them. Amen, I
say to you, they have received their reward. But
when you pray, go into your inner room, close the
door, and pray to your Father in secret. And
your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When
you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites,
they neglect their appearance so that they may appear
to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have
received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your
head and wash your face, so that you may not
appear to be fasting, except to your Father who
is hidden. And your Father who sees what is
hidden will repay you.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know
how much I need you and depend on you.
You know my weakness and my faults. I put all
my confidence in your love and mercy in my
daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in
your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I
wish to start this season of Lent with a
sincere desire to grow in love, preparing myself worthily to
celebrate the mysteries of your passion, death and resurrection.
Petition: Lord, help me learn to change what needs
to change in my life.
1. Lenten Practices: As we begin
the Lenten season, we are reminded of the need
to make reparation for our sins and be reconciled
with God. Any attempt to build a spiritual life that
neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is
building on sand. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates
all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our
comfort and from ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with
the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that
our true wealth is not in things, but in the
love of God. We all need to do a
reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure we
are committed to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
for Show: Jesus is severe in criticizing the hypocrites
who parade their works before others to get attention.
Such parades are of no use in pleasing God or
making up for our sins; they only add to
our sinfulness. He encourages us to pray in private, to
fast and to give alms in secret, without calling
the attention of others to what we are doing.
In this way we can be sure we are doing
all for love of God and not for love
of self. Those who make an outward show of piety
or generosity “have already received their reward” in this
world, and they store up no treasure in heaven.
Let us work silently and discreetly, with no other
intention but pleasing God alone.
3. God Loves a Joyful
Giver: Nothing brings us closer to Christ than walking
alongside him and doing the things he did for
love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us
to purify our hearts and minds and to turn
our intentions back to him. Christ’s public ministry was
lived each day in loving obedience to the Father’s will.
Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet
demanding, obedience and love. What can I do for
God today? What sacrifice can I offer that will be
pleasing to him? Once I decide on it, I
will carry it out with no one else knowing.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the grace
to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love.
Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am
living it in your presence to please you and
Resolution: I will make a Lenten
program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.