Probing our Motivations

02.26.20

There are a lot of posts in social media telling stories of kindness, generosity and care. While these could be heart-rending and inspiring, other people have doubts with regards to the motivation of the person posting them.  For instance, there are people who want to be noticed so they broadcast their desires and whatever good they have done. Others post their selfies helping the poor, showing their act of kindness just to get sympathy or to be praised by others. We cannot discount the fact that there are people who are truthful of their desire and motivation in doing such acts.  It moves us to be honest and be authentic with our actions. This is exactly what our Gospel today is telling us, not to make a show out of our good deeds before people. If we give something to someone, we should not announce it like the hypocrites do in order to be praised. The Lord will reward our good actions especially if it is done with full honesty and integrity.

Today is Ash Wednesday. We will start our forty days journey of self-examination and self-reflection with the Lord in this fleeting world. As a follower of Christ, it is an invitation to me to scrutinize myself if I was able to avoid the many sins and lures of this world and if I have been truthful with my motivations in favor for my love for God. Likewise, it is also a call for me to examine my attitude when I give alms, when I pray and when I fast.

May our fasting and other Lenten penances release us from earthly desires and make us more intent on goodness, justice and mercy.

By Sem. Roldan Baliano

THE GOSPEL TODAY

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.”

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