Father Walter Schu, LC
Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18
Jesus said 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 is doing, so that your
almsgiving may be 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 to 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 others 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, I believe in you
with a living faith. Though I am so inclined
to sin and weakness, I trust in your mercy. I
want to show my love for you in this
meditation. I long for my recompense to come only
from you, not from people’s applause.
help me to act with greater purity of intention
in my life.
1. Who Do You Seek to Please: In
today’s Gospel reading, Christ presents a difficult challenge and,
at the same time, a great consolation. His teaching
can be summed up with a simple phrase: In
everything we do, act always before God alone. At the
end of our life, all that will remain is
what we have done for God and our brothers and
sisters. Everything else, all of our vanities, our desires
to be esteemed, loved or taken into account will
vanish on the last day, like fog disappears under the
rays of the sun. The challenge is clear: to
act before God with absolute purity of intention. But
where is the consolation? Our heavenly Father “sees in
secret.” What might never be perceived or recognized or appreciated
by the world will one day be rewarded in
2. Between You and God: Mother Theresa echoes the
Gospel teaching in a brief poem entitled “It’s Between You
People are often unreasonable, illogical and
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people
may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false
friends and some true enemies.
are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone
may destroy overnight.
If you find serenity
and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Give the world the best you
have, and it may never be enough.
Give the world
the best you have anyway.
Because in the final
analysis, all of this is between you and God….
was never between you and them anyway.
3. Our Everlasting Reward:
Christ declares three times that hypocrites who act before
others have already received their reward. One day each
of us will stand alone before Christ. Our eternal destiny
will depend upon the outcome of that moment. May
we not discover to our chagrin that our hands
are empty because we have secretly acted to win the
applause of men. Rather, may we perform our good
deeds in secret, not letting our left hand know
what our right is doing. Then our heavenly Father, “who
sees what is hidden” will repay us.
Christ: Thank you, Lord, for always seeing what
is hidden, for always being ready to reward what is
done for you. Your words and the example of
holy men and women inspire me on this point.
I wish to live facing you and eternity and to
give up all my vain ambitions and worries about
what others think of my actions.
will renew my purity of intention in the different
activities of the day, doing them out of love for
Christ and to help establish his Kingdom.