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Faith Daily | 2 March 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 481


Almighty and everlasting God,

you hate nothing that you have made,

and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent:

create and make in us new and contrite hearts,

that we, worthily lamenting our sins,

and acknowledging our wretchedness,

may obtain of you, the God of all mercy,

perfect remission and forgiveness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 6: 1-6; 16-21


“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2“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. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


5“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. 6But 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.


16“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. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so 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.


19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.



GOSPEL REFLECTION: Debbie Pringle


Todays reading is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was speaking to His disciples and teaching them, as His followers, how they should live. He was not doing away with the law of Moses, but rather deepening it.


Jesus assumes that they will practice piety (Greek dikaiosuné, meaning righteousness, justice); He used the word “when”, not if. Jesus’ followers are expected to give alms, pray and fast.


Jesus warns against behaving like the hypocrites (the Pharisees come to mind) and the Gentiles (v7). Acts of righteousness must not be done ostentatiously or mechanically, but secretly so that they are just seen by God. There is also a warning against self congratulation and dwelling on them (“do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”).


Doing pious acts in secret could seem like a contradiction to the command to ”let your light shine before men”, (5:16 ). John Stott writes that Jesus is speaking against different sins - the sin of human cowardliness and the sin of vanity. He says that our good works must be public so that our light shines and our religious devotions must be secret lest we boast about them. Both are for God’s glory. AB Bruce says to “show when tempted to hide” and “hide when tempted to show”.


Lent is a good time for us to examine our acts of piety.


FINAL PRAYER:


Father,

please forgive us for the times when we have given alms, prayed and fasted,

seeking and enjoying the praise of others,

or congratulating ourselves.

Please help us to do these things only for You and for Your glory

and to store up our treasure in heaven.

Amen


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