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 in 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 re ward 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.
There are holiness that distracts because it is too loud. It seeks recognition and praise. This is the brand of holiness that Jesus asks us to shun and flee. It does not help to build the spiritual life of the community. On the contrary it might breed competition, jealousy and envy among those who are not deep enough to realize the shallowness of such contrived form of holiness.
And so Jesus invites us to be more focused on the process and not in the form of holiness. To be mindful of its expressions even if it is not recognized or praised by others. The process unfolds quietly. It does not depend on public accolade. It just goes on and continues silently. And when one is totally absorbed to its everyday manifestation, the center is not anymore you but the wonder that unravels before you. And this has the power to inspire others because of its unself-conscious manifestation in the physical realm.