Today’s Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Sometimes we’re like little kids. “Watch me, Mom!” “Look!” “Look at me, Dad!”
We want attention and positive reinforcement just like children. We look for affirmation, love, and admiration from others.
But we’re not little kids. We’re adults. For us, the need for approval to make ourselves feel good or important is simply a form of selfishness.
Jesus wants us to perform acts of love this Lent out of real, true love of God and our neighbor, not for perverted reasons to be noticed or to feed our own pride and selfishness.
He doesn’t want us to turn good works, giving alms, and fasting into “religious behaviors,” rather than real Christian love and piety.
We all want to feel the admiration and respect of our friends. We want them to know what good people we are. But our Lord wants us to focus on doing good works simply because it is the right thing. It’s what we are supposed to do. It’s our Christian responsibility, not something over and above.
We should not look for recognition from our friends for simply doing what is expected of us!
We wouldn’t brag to our friends that we fed our own children or that we showed up for work on time. Yes, both those things can be difficult sometimes! But they are no more required of us as Christians than doing good works, helping the poor, and making personal sacrifices for God.
Can we show our love for God and our neighbors without showing off for God and our neighbors?
Merciful Lord, bless us and fill us with humility. Everything good comes from you. If we are able to give back through almsgiving, it is because you blessed us with talents and opportunities to earn a good living. If we are able to do good works, it is because you have blessed us with good health. If we fast, it is not because we have no food. You have blessed us abundantly. Keep us mindful that we have done nothing and earned nothing of ourselves.
Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby