Daily Gospel Reflection – Ash Wednesday
Bishop Robert Barron
February 22, 2023
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 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
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord prescribes prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as our Lenten disciplines.
The Church traditionally says there are three things we ought to do during Lent, and I put stress on the word do. In recent years, we’ve emphasized the interior dimensions a little too much—that Lent is primarily about attitudes, about ideas and intentions. In the traditional practice of the Church, Lent is about doing things, things that involve the body as much as the mind, that involve the exterior of your life as much as the interior.
The three great practices of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—are three things you do. This is going to sound a little bit strange, but my recommendation for this Lent is, in a certain way, to forget about your spiritual life—by which I mean forget about looking inside at how you’re progressing spiritually. Follow the Church’s recommendations and do three things: pray, fast, and give alms. And as you do, pray to draw closer to the Lord as the center of your life and the reason you do everything.