Today’s Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
A common theme in Jesus’ preaching was the need to perform acts of prayer and goodness out of the public eye. Several times in today’s gospel reading he mentions those who parade their prayers and fasting in front of others have already received their recompense (the attention of their audience). We have to decide which means more to us – the attention and praises of those around us, or the same recompense, in secret, from our Lord.
Jesus tells us to go to our inner room, shut the door, and pray. On one level he certainly could mean physical rooms in your home, office, even in your car as you drive. Perhaps your inner room is your local parish where you go to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
On a deeper level however, he is inviting us into ourselves, finding that space within us where we can encounter Jesus in intimacy and secrecy. Once that inner room is discovered, prayer can take place in the middle of the noisiest places. The more we visit and the longer we stay, the harder we may find it leaving that precious room.
And if we spend enough time in that room, the graces, the joy, the gratitude will come spilling out, overflowing that room into the world around us. Once that happens, there is no way we can wear a face of gloom if we are fasting because of the riches spilling out from our inner rooms. People will be drawn to that joy and gratitude and wonder where it is coming from.
At that point, I’m sure our Lord will want us to reveal our little secret!
Where is your inner room? What is it like?
Every minute Lord you invite me into the sacred inner room of my soul where I can sit at your feet and ponder your words as Mary did. Help me to hear that invitation above the noise and distractions of this world. Help me to linger there with you so that my joy can spill out into the world around me. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Susan Bailey