February 10, 2016

Gospel Mt 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.”
Reflection:
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.”
Here we have what appears to be a straightforward message from Jesus; don’t perform good deeds in a showy way in order to impress people with your goodness. If you do the admiration of others will be your only reward.
Often, people find what appear to be contradictions in the messages given by Jesus.
By way of example, elsewhere in Scripture Jesus tells us: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1-6
It may seem on one hand that Jesus is saying “not to perform” good deeds for people to see, and at the same time, He is telling us to let “people see your good works.”
It is all about our motive.
Jesus is telling us that whether it is good works, prayer or fasting, our motive should be to bring greater glory to God in all that we do.
When people graciously express their gratitude for an act of kindness, just quietly reply, “Oh, you’re very welcome. God always works through people.”

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31