Gospel Reflection: Wednesday, March 6

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.”

Most of us have experienced the joy that comes with contributing to the good of another. We live in a society that loves a cheerful giver and, even if at a primal level, recognizes the benefit of sharing material goods, time, and talent with others. Who doesn’t love the story of the good Samaritan? However, we also live in a society that seems to be more an more obsessed with how we are perceived and the celebrity-like status that comes from social-media which can enrich both the reputation and the coffers of willing participants.

Most recently we all read the headline, “ Homeless man gives stranded motorist $20.” This story made national news and was a social-media sensation. Just listening to the seemingly good works made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. In fact, the idea was so inspiring that the couple decided to start a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for the self-sacrificing homeless vet. Many people decided to hop on the feel-good train which ultimately yielded $400,000 in profits.

A few days later, we all woke up to see that the most public good works of this vet, and the couple who touted his praises for all to see, were indeed con men who had duped everyone invested in this good Samaritan story.

As humans, whether we wish to admit it or not, we long to be loved. The Father has created us in His image; consequently, we share in His joy when we love one another selflessly. However, we must guard our hearts against doing good works for the love of others. If we do our good works in secret, if these works are for the love of the Father and not mere men, if we hold these deeds close to our hearts, then He who first loved us receives the glory, and we grow more fully into His image.

Dear Lord, help me to walk these next 40 days united so closely united to you, that your all-consuming love is all I desire. Help me to resist the temptation to win the affections of men. Let me love You so completely that my only thoughts are to bring You small trinkets of good works. Do not allow my sacrifices to be tainted with self-love nor the wanton approval of others. Help me to imitate Your mother and quietly lay down my life in your service. Amen.

By Mrs. Traci Barrientos, Faculty