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.
Petition: Lord, 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 heaven.
2. Between You and God: Mother Theresa echoes
the Gospel teaching in a brief poem entitled “It’s Between
You and God.”
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are
kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
are successful, you will win some false friends and some
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight.
find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you
do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
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….
It was never between you and them
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.
Conversation with 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.