Gospel: Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be noticed in the synagogues and on the streets, in order to be praised by people. I assure you, they have their reward. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not be like those who want to be noticed. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have their reward. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you
in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face, as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father, who sees beyond
appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.
WHEN YOU FAST, DO NOT PUT
ON A GLOOMY FACE
Ash Wednesday ushers the time of Lent where we are urged to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor. In doing these good things, Jesus warns us again about our EGO that insinuates itself into everything we do. In some other place in the Bible, Jesus tells us to go to our room when we pray and not to parade our piety. In still another place, He tells us not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. And here He advises us not to seek the admiration of people by our asceticism. It all comes down to one thing: PURITY OF INTENTION. What is it in us that we hunger so much for peoples’ admiration, approbation, appreciation. And why are we so affected by what people say, by what people write in their Facebook, maybe bashing us for something we said or did. Psychologists will tell us it is because we lack self-esteem, we have inferiority complex, we lack inner security. This may be true. Maybe we really need to reflect and see for ourselves what we are, accept what we see and realize that nothing anyone will think or say of us can add or subtract to the person we are.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018