Daily Gospel Reflection - Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 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.”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus prescribes the essential disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Let’s focus on fasting and almsgiving.
The appetites for food and drink are so pressing, so elemental, that, unless they are quelled and disciplined, they will simply take over the soul. They are like children who clamor constantly for attention and who, if indulged, will in short order run the house.
Therefore, if the passion for God is to be awakened, the more immediately pressing desires must be muted, and this is the purpose of fasting. We go hungry and thirsty so that the deepest hunger and thirst might be felt. In a way, fasting is like the “calming of the monkey mind” effected by the rosary: both are means of settling the superficial mind that darts from preoccupation to preoccupation.
But food and drink are not the only objects of concupiscent desire. Material things and wealth are also ready substitutes for the passion for God. Thus, a kind of fasting from what money can buy is an important practice. How often Jesus recommends that his disciples give to the poor, and how often throughout the Christian tradition has almsgiving been emphasized.