Wednesday 11th Week of the Year
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18.
Who gets the attention when we pray, fast, and do almsgiving?
We are all used to attention-getters.
Commercials use them
to draw our attention to their products.
Homilists do the same thing
to help us focus on a point they are making.
So the question Jesus proposes in today’s gospel is,
“Who gets all the attention when we pray,
when we fast, and when we give alms?”
Think of God’s goodness in us as energy,
a bursting, bubbling over energy
that is endless when it is directed away
from ourselves for another’s good.
Our Lord’s kindness in us remains pure
and abundant when he and others are the reasons
why we pray, fast, and do good deeds out of a love.
And there’s more!
When we lose ourselves, that is,
when we are not at all concerned
about what we’re getting out of sharing God’s goodness,
his goodness in our actions returns to us,
making us even more resourceful and benevolent.
St. Paul expressed it like this, “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; in so far as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Galatians 2: 19-21).
Just as Jesus gave himself up for us, so we,
grateful to Him, give ourselves up
for the good and benefit of others.
So when we pray, when we fast
or give of ourselves until it hurts,
we do it with great joy and out of the love
the Lord has already shown us.
Our focus is always:
“Oh God, you have been so good and merciful to me. You know better than I do, that I’m not deserving of your kindness. I have so often offended you. Take my little gift of prayer, and acts of kindness to someone as my way of saying, ‘Thank you.’
“You have been so good to me. May I return that kindness especially with someone whose need is greatest or whom you know is least deserving. May your goodness explode in their hearts as it has in mine.”