June 17, 2015

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 others 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;
God, who sees all, knows the motivation of our hearts.
Genuine sacrifice should be motivated from love, compassion and mercy, not from a desire for recognition, admiration or prestige.
It has been said that the best form of giving is when neither giver nor recipient know one another.
But it seems to me, that giving in such an impersonal way may rob us of the opportunity to feed the soul as well as the body.
As someone who grew up on the “receiving end.” I remember having food delivered to our house by various charitable organizations. Sometimes there would be a knock at the door and upon opening it, we would find a box of food sitting there.
We were grateful, but it left us feeling like whoever left it was too embarrassed by our poverty to say hello.
Other times when we opened the door, there stood big, smiling Mr. Hennessy. “Hello there, Jimmy boy!” he’d bellow. “How’s my favorite lad doing today?”
When my mother came to the door to thank him, I remember Mr. Hennessy saying, “Louise, you’re doing a great job raising this brood. They’re all good kids. I know God has to be very proud of you.” Mom’s eyes would get teary and she’d say, “Mr. Hennessy, you’re His angel.”
As a single mother with eight children, I never remember anyone other than Mr. Hennessy telling my mother that God was “proud” of her.
Over the last twenty-seven years, I have had the privilege of making hundreds of food deliveries. We share stories and laughter, and even shed tears with those we serve.
The very best deliveries are the ones when the food that has been delivered is quickly ignored and forgotten and the friendship and laughter is remembered and treasured.
Laying in bed at night, I envision the faces of the people I met that day as they look at the simple flyer from the My Brother’s Keeper food box.
On it is a picture of Jesus with the words, “I hear your prayers. I do not forget you.”
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17