WORD of the DAY
“[But] 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. (Matthew 6: 1-6; 16-18)
Lent begins today. During this time, we are asked to let ourselves be converted by the Spirit to the Gospel of life. Jesus asks us from whom we want our reward for what we are and do; from God or from human beings? When we give alms, or pray, or fast, or place ourselves in relationship with God, with things, with our poverty and that of others, we must not be hypocritical or fakers.
We must not seek our reward in human judgment for then we have already received our reward, our self-image and our pride have been satisfied. Instead, we should choose to be in relationship with a pure, upright, true, and humble heart, thus experiencing the joy of being a child of that Father who sees in secret and there, in the secret of our heart, we will receive the recompense that only He knows how to give.
The voice of Pope Francis (Meditation on June 19, 2013)
Jesus speaks of fasting, prayer, almsgiving; the three pillars of Christian piety, of interior conversion proposed to us the Church during Lent. There are also hypocrites on this road who boast about their fasting, almsgiving, praying. How much hypocrisy in their relationship with God…this is very close to the sin against the Holy Spirit. They do not know beauty; they do not know love; they do not know truth; they are small and vile.