Daily Reflection – 6/19/19
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.” (Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18)
Jesus warns his disciples not to do good deeds simply so others will think well of them. Jesus wants his disciples to be aware of their motivation for what they do. He wants them to do what is right or good because they desire to help others, love others and make the world a better place. Jesus hopes their actions and decisions will flow from love of God, love of the Gospel and love for the people and the world.
How often do we stop and examine our motivations? It is easy to move through the day and simply go about our business. Are we concerned about others or are we too preoccupied to even notice the people around us? At times, do I choose to do something so the other person will think well of me? Do I go to church because that is truly where I want to be? Or do I attend simply because I am supposed to or want to be seen as spiritual? When I am tired, do I ignore someone who might need some help? And if I am in a bad mood, do I take it out on another?
I assume that all of us have made some of the choices listed above at times in our lives. If the majority of our time and attention is focused primarily on us and our needs, it might be well to reflect on our choices. Most often the source of our happiness is in the people in our lives. Hopefully, most of the people around us bring us joy and love. Yes, there will be difficult times. However, if love is present, difficulties can be worked out. And in day to day living, it is their presence, love and care that is the greatest gift we receive!
Today may we be mindful of our choices and decisions. Jesus also reminds us to be aware of our motivations. Why do we make the choices we do? Do our decisions flow from care and concern for others? Or do I usually do what is best for me? We all have heard the saying: “what would Jesus do?” Today we might experience a choice or challenge as we go about our day. May we pause for a moment and thoughtfully ask ourselves: What would Jesus do? And then just be still for 60 seconds and listen for His answer! Jesus will respond!
Prayer of The Day
Almighty God, our hope and our strength, without You we falter. Help us to follow Christ
and to live according to Your will. Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
What Jesus does here is test the reality of God in our lives. How easy it is to do religious things if other people are watching—preaching, praying, attending church, reading the Bible, acts of kindness and charity, etc. The reason for this is not only the commendation we might get, but more subtly the sense that the real effectiveness of our spiritual acts is on the horizontal axis among people, not the vertical axis with God.