Commentary on the Gospel of
We read in today’s Gospel Jesus talking about almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. These three were seen as the signs of pious Jews. And these were also used by the Jews to draw attention to themselves for their show-off piety and righteousness more than to glorify God, as described by Jesus. This is what Jesus does not want and He calls it hypocrisy- “as if” praising and glorifying God but in fact glorifying themselves. This remains true until today amongst us all.
Now, how then do we glorify God and how do we express sincere piety? Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are still very much encouraged and are still concrete expressions of our faith and religiousity. But Jesus warned us not to parade our uprightness to attract attention nor to impose our piety on others. Rather He invites us to do them in “secret”. God knows what is in our hearts and our desires even before we ask them. On our part, we do not clearly know His desire or will for us. Thus Jesus tells us to build up our interior relationship with Him and not just in what we do for God, but in praising and recognizing what God does for us. We are invited to be alone in “secret” with Him, alone in our room, “not letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing” so that God will be able to talk with us in His silent whisper.
Sometimes we concern ourselves with many things especially in pleasing our love ones. We think of what gifts to buy them or to bring them to a fancy restaurant. But we forget that many times our love ones just want our time and our presence more than anything else. They want to talk to us, listen to our stories, and even “waste” time with us. We can ask ourselves, when was the last time I spent time with my parents or children? Similarly, Jesus is calling us to spend time with Him in the ‘quiet’ of our hearts and eventually recognize His presence in our activities. We do not need to do a lot of things for Him, all we need is to spend time with Him - praising and glorifying Him in our life.