“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Years ago at a silent retreat, a Jesuit Priest told me that when praying the Jesuit Examen prayer that I should reflect on when during the day “we” experienced life interactions and events. He referred to “we” meaning when I was mindful of God’s presence with me during my day, and when did I experience the day’s events when it was “I,” meaning when I was only mindful of myself.
This reflection came to mind looking at this passage. Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are important ways to love God and my neighbor more deeply. They are also pathways for me to be more mindful of the nature of my relationship with God. We are created by and ultimately belong to God. All that we have and are in this life comes from God. Thus, any righteousness or piety we receive is God’s presence working through us. We serve this world for the greater glory of God. If we are open to God’s presence (“we”), God will glorify and sanctify our almsgiving, prayer, and fasting making it holy.
—Dr. Sajit U. Kabadi is the Assistant Principal for Mission, Ministry, and Diversity at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, CO.
Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.
—St. Teresa of AvilaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!