The Gospel According to 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 others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
Reflection: After reading this Gospel passage, I thought about who my heroes were as I was growing up. They all seemed to be genuine, without being boastful. If they had any special talent or skill, it was either a gift from God or something they had to work at very hard to achieve greatness. But even through all that hard work, they still never bragged about their accomplishments, they would always refer back to their struggles and obstacles they overcame just to get where they were in life.
Today, Jesus warns us not to become hypocrites especially when your pray to the Lord.
Prayer is supposed to be all about the relationship each of us have with God. It’s personal and private. Developing that personal relationship should always be first and foremost. In the end that’s what will really matter. Especially when you take into consideration that the relationship, with God, will last each one of us through eternity. Works of charity, spiritual practices, and praying, if not centered on and offered to God, become nothing more than self-gratification.
For me, it’s always been a best practice to look back at each day to see where I failed to bring someone closer to God and even better where I have succeeded in helping someone to a closer relationship with Him. Where we succeed, we give glory to God and where we have failed to receive His graces, we asked for forgiveness. And knowing that God will give us another opportunity tomorrow.
Action of the Day: For one day, try telling everyone, you come in contact with, whether in person or on the phone to have a ‘blessed day’, and let God know how this made you feel in your heart and in your soul!