First Reading: 2 Kings 2:1, 6-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31
Gospel: 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 others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18)
Braggers ... we all know them and have met them. People who just seem to want to boast about all the good things that they do and how great that they are. Along with the braggers, we also have very vain people; those who only look to their own greatness and often want everyone else to see that greatness. Those who are vain and those who are braggers typically care about one opinion in their lives, the opinion of others.
As Christians, we are called to not worry about the opinion of others, we are only called to worry about the opinion of God. It is God that we were made for and it is God who we should be seeking to please. Can a human being give us abundant life? Can a human being decide where we will spend our eternity? Can a human being love us unconditionally without ever holding back? No, only God can do these things to their fullest. That is why Jesus tells us today in the gospels that when we give alms, pray, and fast that we should keep these things to ourselves; because we should be focusing on God's opinion, not the public's.
May we all be granted the strength and the courage to seek His will over our own. May we only focus on and worry about the only opinion that matters ... God's.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for the blessing of our lives. Lord, help us to shake off the opinions of the world and to only seek your favor. Lord, we were made for you, help us to live our lives for you and your glory. Lord, you are our God and we are your people, may our lives and our actions always reflect this. We pray for all of our priests and religious, may they be strengthened in their ministries and in their vows. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.