Jesus has been brought up by Joseph and Mary to be a very observant Jew, with the greatest respect for the Jewish practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer.
Jesus now sets a loftier spiritual ideal for himself and for his disciples. He speaks against parading one’s good deeds and against hypocrisy. He aims at a sincere relationship being forged between the believer and God. One has to give pure glory and worship to God rather than to oneself.
Jesus is often accused of speaking against the law, wanting to nullify the law and the Jewish traditions. His whole life and his entire public ministry belie this unfair and unfounded accusation. Jesus lives a simple life and does not parade his good deeds. His teachings and miracles are all meant to honor his heavenly Father and respond to people’s needs.
May we always seek to honor God by our good deeds and daily devotion with pure and undivided hearts.
Gospel • 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 be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.