Martin, Bishop of Tours, c.397
Text for the Reflection
‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. ‘And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Today´s text gives us some important teachings concerning faith matters especially the issue of piety. We are in a world of competition where people do things for the sake of outdoing others. We will live in a world where people do things for the sake of being seen and acknowledged by others like what the Pharisees used to do. This is what Jesus points out as hypocrisy. This is where people are mainly concerned by external manifestations of their faith while inwardly we are far from God. We are being taught that whatever we do in worship it can be either using our God-given talents or giving alms to God should be done in honour of God and not be acknowledged by other people. He then goes further by giving us a standard and simple model of a godly player. We have learnt a lot about the Lord´s prayer and I will not want to repeat that serve to say when we pray we should remember to intercede for others and not only think of ourselves.
Let Us Pray
Grant, we beseech you, merciful Lord, to your faithful
people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from
all their sins and serve you with a quiet mind;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and
reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen
Leave a Reply