Daily Reflection – 2/26/2020
“[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)
Our Gospel reading today is the traditional reading for Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent.
Jesus’ words in this reading may give us ideas about what we might do during this period. 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 is not primarily concerned about the actions of his disciples. Rather, He is concerned about their motivations. Jesus hopes their actions and decisions will flow from love of God, love of the Gospel and love for the people and the world. Love truly is all that matters!
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?
Our motivations are not always clean and pure. 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? 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. However, if the majority of our time and attention is focused primarily on us and our needs this is the time to reflect on our choices.
Today may we be mindful of those 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
“Lord, I give myself to You this Lent. I freely choose to enter into the desert of these 40 days and choose to pray, fast and give of myself to an extent I have never done before. I pray that this Lent will be a time in which I am transformed interiorly by You. Set me free, dear Lord, from all that keeps me from loving You and others with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.”
Take some time every day to reflect on who you are and what kind of person you have become. But your reflection must include Christ’s life and the decisions he made. If I notice a difference between myself and the Lord, then I need to bridge this gap! Then, and only then, can I be sure that I am living my life with the highest standard of living!