Wednesday of the 11th Week of the Year

Matt 6:1-6, 16-18

Almsgiving, Prayer, Fasting

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Our gospel today reminds us that when we do acts of goodness not because we expect reward or attention. The best motive for doing good is God Himself. We do good things because God is a good God. We offer help to other people not because we want the reward of being praised or known as generous but want to be instruments of God’s generosity. We pray well, because we love to stay with Him in prayer. We pray to experience God’s presence in our lives and His inspiration. Our reward is His Divine Word – Jesus Christ.”God is not love without reward, even though God should be loved without thought of reward,” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

God is the only reward for all the good things that we do. (Fr. Antonio Calauit, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise you will have no recompense from your Father.

Lighting s candle during meditation time became my habit. I light a candle, the waqx melts, the wick lights so brightly and emits black dirty fumes, the restless flame goes on for sometime until more wax is melted. Only when the flame calms down will the light become conducive to prayer.

Inherent in people is the need to be given attention, to be recognized, appreciated and accepted. Like the candle, every person wants his light to shine brightly for others to see. No wonder, media earns a lot from publicity and advertisements. Government projects are not complete without the billboard displaying the public official’s name responsible for the project (as if we are not aware that the taxpayer’s money was used for all these). Church pews are not exempted from this as we see the names of the donors permanently stamped on them.

What kind of light shines out from our person? Is it a restless flame emitting black fumes or a calm contemplative light leading people to reflect on something beyond or somebody greater than you and I?

Let the light of Christ shine forth brightly: “I must decrease and he must increase.” (Eft, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)

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The three ordinary good works that a Christian performs to please God are these: almsgiving, praying and fasting. The Pharisees performed these good acts. They gave alms. When they did, however, they made a public show of it. They would stand at the corner of a busy street and have someone blow a trumpet so more people would gather and see them give some alms to a beggar. When many people were in the synagogue, they would go to the front in order to be seen and praised by people for being prayerful. When they fasted, they made a long sad face to advertise that they were fasting.

Jesus criticized them not for their almsgiving, prayer and fasting but their motivation. They did these good acts to be praised and seen by people, to get the reputation of being holy persons. Jesus explained that they already had their reward and lost all reward, which they would have received from God, His Father, if they had performed those acts with the right intention, namely to please God.

What about nowadays? When we donate to the building of a church, we want our names inscribed on a plaque that everyone can see that we are donors. Is it not hard to pray in a private place where no one but only God sees us? When we fast or do some penance, is it not difficult to be cheerful and hide the fact that we are fasting? Yes, we all, each of us, has the hypocrite, the Pharisee hidden in us. He likes to show off. But we also have the image of Jesus in us and His Holy Spirit who like to please the Father, even if no one sees our good acts and praises us for doing them. (Fr. Stan Plutz, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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A well-known pastor in the German city of Berlin got onto a double-decker bus, took a seat on the upper deck, open his breviary and began to say prayers. Hardly had he begun, when a passenger who was sitting beside him began to make remarks so loud that everyone could hear him. “Take a look at this fellow,” he shouted. “this great man of God climbs up the top of a bus, takes out his prayer book and starts praying publicly so everyone can see him and think he is a pious man!”

Then he continued the attack: “When I say my prayers, I follow what Jesus says in the scriptures…about closing the door and praying to God in private.” To which the pastor added, “And then you climb to the top of a bus and tell the whole world about it.”

At times we make people believe that we are better than we really are, and more religious than we really are. I read a book that says, “we are no more and no less than what we can claim to be before God Himself.”

Truth, honesty and sincerity should be the important components in the spiritual disciplines of almsgiving, prayer and fasting. This gospel is an invitation to shun showing off, deception and, in one word, “hypocrisy” in what we do and say. The Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola summarizes the gospel: to give and not to count the cost…to fight and not to heed the wounds…to toil and not to seek for rest…to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that I do your will, O God. (Fr. Deva, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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Fans of the TV show Charmed will know it as the Triquetra symbol representing the “power of three.” The “power of three” is the combined magical power of the Halliwell sisters, three “good” witches who live together in San Francisco. The Triquetra is on the cover of the “Book of Shadows,” a powerful spell book. This three-pronged triquetra is a figure formed from three circular arcs of equal radius, producing three overlapping ovals and usually enclosed or intersected by a circle. It may symbolize the Celtic belief that everything has three distinct yet interlocked levels – physical, mental and spiritual. When the Celts embraced Christianity they used this symbol to represent the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). As with many Celtic themes the unbroken circle represents eternity. The three-symbol is not only limited to the Celts. Cultures in regions throughout the world consider the number three to be s divine number.

In our Christian life, we may point out also to the triquetra of righteous acts, namely almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Each one is necessary and useful and compliments one another. Almsgiving refers to our relationship with our brothers and sisters. Prayer deals with our connection with God. And fasting focuses on the self. But two other qualities are needed to deepen them: sincerity and secrecy. They are to be performed sincerely, not ostentatiously. “Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite,” said Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Let’s briefly describe each other:

Almsgiving: “Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.”

  • The right hand represents me with my good deed; the left, me with my good opinion about my deed.
  • The expression refers to the fact that as much as possible a person must keep one’s voluntary contribution a secret not only to others but even to oneself.
  • The true Christian cares not how much people hear of his/her public charities, not how little they hear of his/her private ones.
  • Christians who have been blessed materially have been given a charge to be “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,” (1Tim 6:17-19).

Prayer: “Go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret.”

  • Prayer must be done “to be seen of God,” not people.
  • Prayer must be done “to be heard of God,” not people.
  • The privilege of prayer is one of the most important blessings to be enjoyed by the children of God in this life.
  • How important, then, that we be sure to pray in such a manner as to be seen and heard by our Father in heaven!

Fasting: “Anoint your head and wash your face.”

  • Some fast solely for health reasons,
  • Others fast only in times of grief and sorrow.
  • Still others fast as a way to gain self-control.
  • Christians fast when faced with situations requiring divine help.

May the power of these three acts (almsgiving, prayer and fasting) nourish you in your path to righteousness! (Fr. Felix Ferrer, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are works meant to glorify God. If these are done for motives other than this, we deny the honor due to God. When we pray, fast, give alms, or do good deeds to honor God, we are not expect anything in return like the praise and esteem of others. “The Father who sees in secret” will reward us.

God only wants to be good, holy and righteous, not to be showy and self-righteous. We must do good things whether others are watching or not, because God is watching and that is all that matters. (Sr. Isabel Angela Mejia, SSpS, Bible Diary 2009)

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June 15, 2016 Wednesday

Today’s gospel reading leads us back to February 10, Ash Wednesday. Do we remember how deeply sorry we were as we received the ashes on our foreheads, resolving that we shall reform our lives and follow Him faithfully with constant prayer and acts of charity, as we observed fasting and abstinence on that day? It is a timely call for conversion at the beginning of Lent, to recollect and to start anew the path to repentance in preparation for Easter. Yet four months later, we meet the same text once again only to be reminded of the same message. Search your heart!

In particular, we are as if being asked: What moves us in our service to the Lord and His people?

What motivates us to pray, fast and do righteous deeds? Shall we do the same acts of charity even when nobody is looking around? Have we not felt disappointed or frustrated when we got no recognition nor reward for something we did special for someone else? Have we truly re ected upon the purity of our intentions? Search your heart!

One might recall the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,16), “… your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds …” But why is it that in today’s verses He seems to be saying otherwise?. “Do things in secret!” How then is it possible for a “light of the world,” who ought not be hidden, to obey the words of the Lord today? The answer is clear and is revealed in the last words: “… and glorify your heavenly Father.” Search your heart!

Yes indeed, let us search our hearts and discover what moves us. May our works be not for our own gain but for the glory of our heavenly Father who shall then reward us for our righteous deeds.

Our motivation lies here, and we know it. But oftentimes we forget. And so today, we are reminded so that we can redirect our paths, as we pray, fast and do acts of charity. (Fr. Dindo Santiago, SVD Japan Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/705-june-15-2016-wednesday

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June 20, 2012

St. Florentina
Wednesday of the 11th Week
GREEN

2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14
Ps 31
Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Almsgiving, Prayer, Fasting

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 1“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2When 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. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

5“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. 6But 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.

16“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. 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so 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.”

Reflection:

In secret. Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting are distinctive acts of Jewish piety. Jesus says that they should be done in secret. Why? Jesus sees the importance of inner disposition and proper motivation. These acts are not meant to be done for public display, admiration, and recognition. We do them to express our love for God and for our fellow men and women.

Giving alms in secret, for instance, is done to die to selfishness, greed, and possessiveness, to share God’s goodness, and to be channels of God’s graciousness.

We share what we receive and experience from God. We pray and we fast not to enhance our public image or improve our figures. Prayer and fasting make us realize that in this earthly life our utmost comfort and consolation can come only from God. When we give alms, pray, and fast, we do them for God.

 What is your own motivation for doing such acts of piety as almsgiving, prayer, and fasting?

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1851-june-20-2012

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People today are fond of saying that they are “spiritual but not religious.” They use this expression to say that they reject organized religion but not a personal connection with God, or with their “higher power.” Perhaps they are simply rejecting the hypocrisy they see in people who appear to be the opposite, “religious but not spiritual” that is, people who are rigid, or self-righteous, or superficial, Jesus too rejects such a use of religion: “Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see.” However, he does not tell us to be “spiritual but not religious.” Instead, he gives us wise counsel on the proper way to practice our religion.

The heart of religion is love. Here Jesus teaches about the three fundamental acts of religion, which are all expressions of love. Prayer expresses our love for God. Almsgiving or works of mercy expresses our love for our neighbour. Fasting or self-denial expresses how we order our love of self by disciplining our appetites. If we fail to love God, our neighbour, and ourselves, or if we are disoriented in our loves, , then we defile our religion from within, even if we do many “religious” acts.

Jesus main point in this section of the Sermon on the Mount is that we should not do good deeds simply for human approval. We should do them for God. Even if no one else notices, God sees what we do, for he sees what is secret. He reads the depths of our hearts and sees our inner motivations. If we make a public show of being “holy,” or if we make donations in order to be recognized, we are acting for the approval of men, not of God. Jesus says we will get the reward we look for. Of all we want is human approval that is all we will get. He is challenging us to look more closely at the secret motives for us “good deeds.”

Religion is expressed in many outer ways, but its essence is interior. Elijah was a powerful prophet who performed many amazing miracles, but he never did them merely to impress an audience. His outer actions confirmed his words and moved those who saw them to trust in God. In today’s reading, after Elijah is mysteriously assumed into heaven, Elisha, his spiritual son and successor, inherits his mantle, the sign of his prophetic mission. Elisha’s purity of intention is revealed when Elijah asks him to make a final request of him before his is taken up. Elisha does not ask for an external gift, the power to work miracles, for example. Rather he asks for something greater and more interior, “a double portion” of Elijah’s spirit. Such a gift is not Elijah’s to give; it can only be given by the Lord. The Lord honours Elisha’s intention and grants his request, as evidenced by his parting of the waters of the Jordan, just as Elijah had done.

In Baptism and Confirmation, we have received a “double portion” of Jesus’ Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Because of the gift of the Spirit, Jesus can declare that after he returns to the Father, we will do greater works than he has done (cf. John 14:12). All of our acts of religion, our prayer, fasting and almsgiving, will be much more fruitful if we do them in the Spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit guides us from within to see these three practices, not as some sort of burden to carry, as ways to do that what Jesus does. We pray in the Spirit when we pray as Jesus taught us to pray, not multiplying words, but uniting our will with the will of the Father, in the secrets of our hearts. We fast in the Spirit when we focus on making room in our hearts for God to fill us. We give alms in the Spirit when we make a purer gift of ourselves, laying down our lives for others, as Jesus does.

Perhaps no one will see or understand what we are doing, or what the Holy Spirit is doing in us. At times we will even be persecuted for our interior fidelity to the Lord.. but the Father who sees what is hidden will repay us with the joy of communion with Him.

What is my interior life like? Do I open my heart to the Lord, or simply “talk to myself?” when i do charitable acts, is it for others or for myself? Do I practice self-denial? For what reasons? Is my practice of religion authentic, led by the Spirit? (Pondering the Word the Anawim Way May 27, 2012 to July 7, 2012 Cycle B year 2 – June 20, 2012 pp.142-144)

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Prayer, Fasting, Alms and Lent.

You know year after year we hear of the famous three things that we are suppose to do during Lent and that is Pray, Fast, and Give Alms. Now while we are suppose to be doing these things during the rest of the year. During the season of Lent we are to do them with more intensity.

Here is a little background to why we pray, fast, and give alms during lent. This all goes back to the garden of Eden and the fall of our first parents. I recently found out that Eve was tempted with three temptations.

Look at Genesis 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, Now the ancient Rabbi’s called this the three Lusts. The Lust of the Flesh The Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life.

St John in his first letter reflects this teaching when he says: 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life,
is not of the Father but is of the world.

Here is the meaning behind the three Lusts: Well the lust of the flesh would be for any disordered physical pleasure. In our Culture we are bombarded with magazines and shows that offer us physical pleasure. Or Drugs, or gorging ourselves with Food. The lust of the eyes would be any disordered desire for material things. Some examples would be maybe a shopping spree, or the collection of great possessions. The pride of life would a disordered desire for Power or social standing.

There are some other Characters in the Bible that displayed these disorders. I would have to say that King Solomon, It would appear systematically fell into these three great sins. This is located in 1 Kings chapters 10 and 11. First is the lust of the eyes – when King Solomon taxes the people 666 talents of Gold, and creates all of these lavish vessels for himself.
Then is the Pride of life, when he makes a standing army. And the lust of the flesh is when he gets the 700 wives and 300 concubines. Now what is also significant is with each of these sins. God had told Moses earlier that these three things are exactly what a king is NOT suppose to do.

Jesus himself gets tempted with three temptations. We find this in Matthew Chapter 4. The devil tempts Jesus first with changing stones into bread. This is the Lust of the flesh. Now while it might seem not so tempting, except it would have been an entirely selfish gift to himself.
Next is when the devil takes Jesus to the top of the temple and says to cast himself down and the angels will catch him. This would have been very, very visible sign to everyone that Jesus was the Christ and a great display of power. This is pride of life. Look at me – I am the Christ, I can to tricks!! Finally the devil offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world, without the cross. If only Jesus would worship him. This is the lust of the eyes.

But Jesus conquers all of these and he tells us how in Matthew chapter 6. He gives us three solutions to these three lusts. Pray, Fast and give alms. Praying is when we say that God is in charge and not me. Prayer is acknowledging that God knows what is best for us because he loves us and designed us. Praying is when we say not look at me, but look at God.
Fasting is when we tell our bodies that we are in control of them and not the other way around. Before the fall of Adam and Eve, their desires were ruled by their intellect. Now our intellect is ruled by our desires. By fasting we tell our bodies that we do not live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God. By giving alms to the poor or those in need, we are conquering the lust of the eyes. Our eyes tell us that we need this and this and that and some or all of those. This is of course a lie. We are designed not to be filled with the good gifts of this earth, but with God himself. St. Augustine said that “our hearts are restless, until they rest in God.” Also, you can’ take all of this stuff with you when you go anyway, so you might as well give it to gave treasure in heaven.

You know what is also significant about these three things is when Jesus says them in Matthew Chapter 6 he says – WHEN you pray, WHEN you fast, WHEN you give alms. He is assuming that we are doing them.

Getting back to Jesus in the desert. Jesus was in the desert 40 days and nights. He was in the desert conquering where the Israel had failed during their 40 years. But many people don’t know is that we are the New Israel in the desert, and we join Jesus these 40 days to get our minds, hearts, and actions refocused on where we are headed. We, the Church are the New Israel that have passed through the waters of baptism (like they had in the red Sea).
We can be fed on the new manna of the Eucharist that comes to us daily. And we are here waiting to enter the promised land of heaven. So this 40 days is suppose to be a summery of our entire journey toward heaven the rest of the year. It is during this time that we are to get refocused on our journey to our heavenly home, which is best done by prayer fasting and giving alms.

Now prayer, fasting, and giving alms are related to something else. We have heard how when people join a religious community, they take vows of obedience, celibacy, and poverty. Well these are just the greatest forms of prayer, fasting, and giving alms.

When we pray we are telling God we are not in charge, and being obedient to someone is giving them charge over you. For those who are celibate, it is giving up intimate physical relations, which is a pretty big fast, and giving them to God. Finally, it is in poverty that we own nothing and give away all things as alms. Source: For the most part Dr. Brant Pitre – catholic-productions.com/store/audio/pitre/temptations.html

bibletidbits.blogspot.com/2010/02/prayer-fasting-alms-and-lent.html

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Fast and Give Alms and Pray Sermon shared by W Pat Cunningham

February 2010 Ash Wednesday Homily 2010

There’s not much chance today that someone will see the ashes on your forehead and say “Oh, what a wonderfully pious person that is.” It’s more likely that someone who doesn’t know you are Catholic will ask, “did you know there’s a smudge on your forehead?”

I am told that Ash Wednesday sees more people in church than even Easter. That is a cause for confidence in the vitality of our communion. Nobody who thinks he’s perfect comes to church today. The parking lot is too crowded. All of us are here to acknowledge that we are chronic screw-ups. All of us are here to tell God that we need help. And the good news is that God is here to tell us that He will do exactly that. But when the ashes are on our heads, the growing must begin.

First, we fast. Yes, we avoid beef and poultry today, and on every Friday we should do the same. But going out for a high-priced wine-sauce redfish might not be much of a penance. The most important fast is to stop sinning. Identify some chronic sin in your life and ask God for the grace to turn that energy into worship. Go to confession; ask forgiveness. It might be spending too much money shopping, or overeating. For almost half of all men, it’s a habit of Internet pornography and self-abuse. Discern what in your life is keeping you from prayer and growing in your love for God and other men and women. Ask God to heal you; he will always answer that prayer.

Only then can we virtuously fast from whatever self-indulgence we want to offer to God. Walk to Church instead of driving. Eat smaller portions. Give up a favorite TV show and read or listen to the Bible for 20-30 minutes a day. Exercise your body and your soul.

The money we don’t spend on ourselves should be given in alms. The rice bowl for your spare change is a great tradition in many homes. Eat bread and water once a week on Wednesday or Friday for one meal, and give the money to St. Vincent de Paul or Catholic Relief Services for Haiti. Buy a couple of square feet in our Habitat house. Do something for someone who can’t do anything for himself. If you have no money, donate your time.

And, of course, pray. What that means is to spend either more time or better quality time in communication with God. Two suggestions I have found useful: first, enlist the Blessed Virgin as a prayer partner. When you begin to pray, ask her to pray with you and for you. Our Mother will always do that for us. She will lead us more reliably to Her Son, Jesus, than anyone else. Second, spend time listening when you pray. God knows what we need; do we know what He wants? Listen to him in your heart. He may speak to you through the Scriptures, through a chance encounter, or through a still, small voice of love. And, rather than have you listen to me for another five minutes, we’ll begin that habit right now with a moment of silent listening.

sermoncentral.com/sermons/fast-and-give-alms-and-pray-w-pat-cunningham-sermon-on-fast-143952.asp

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My Reflection for Wednesday June 18, Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 Reflection: What does Jesus teach us today? It’s about humility and modesty, keep your every acts of piety in secret and don’t trumpet it to the whole wide world for HE knows everything. But the world that we are in now is influencing us to discard this teaching of Jesus and embrace publicity and advertising.

Just look at the many vehicles of publicity in the internet such as facebook, instagram, twitter and the like. What are they dictating to us? It dictates us to publicize almost everything that we do, including our acts of piety.

It’s not wrong to embrace this publicity flat forms if we use it to advance our humanitarian advocacies with humility. Yet it becomes wrong when we use it to proudly show to the whole wide world the good that we do . Perhaps Jesus is telling us not to worry if nobody will notice our acts of kindness and piety for HE knows it already.

What is important is we do everything for Jesus and for the greater good of HIS people. It doesn’t matter anymore if we would be noticed or not if people would compliment us or not. What is important is we know that we have a God who knows everything including our unpublicized acts of humility and piety.

What is usually our motive in doing good, is it for publicity so that others will know how good we are? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-reflection-for-wednesday-june-18.html

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 Reflection for June 17, Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Reflection: What motivates you to do good? For example in giving to the poor, what motivates you to help them? In giving to the poor Jesus has a major requirement that you should follow. Do it in secret without anyone knowing about it.

Why in secret? Because secrecy is the language of Jesus secrecy is also a close relative of humility which Jesus embodies to the hilt. This teaching of Jesus on alms giving is totally opposed to the teachings of this world which unfortunately many of us follow.

This world teaches us to publicise and to broadcast whatever good that we do. It teaches us to post to the internet our acts of kindness. So that those who know us may see it and consequently they will have a good impression about us.

Why publicise? Perhaps this is brought about by our natural need for recognition. And there’s no wrong about it for we simply want to be recognised.  But Jesus is challenging us not to go  after recognition.

Jesus is challenging us to silently fade away after we have done good to anyone. Could we measure-up to this challenge of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/06/reflection-for-june-17-wednesday-of.html

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Reflection for June 15, Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in OT; Matthew 5:1-6, 16-18

Reflection: Jesus gives us three commands:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting.

Jesus reminds us to have an interior self-examination about our lives.  How are we living it right now? Do we live our lives so that others may notice us?  Are we only using God so that we will gain the admiration of our fellowmen?

Jesus advocates humility and secrecy in doing things for Him. We should not boast of the things that we do for God and for our fellowmen. Otherwise it’s all useless and chasing the wind. Jesus knows everything about us; our motives and the real reason why we do things for Him. He knows if we are only using Him to advance our own self serving agendas.

Maybe we only live and do things for ourselves and we have no real concern for the lives of others. We may have also strayed very far already from Jesus, we may have betrayed Him for countless times in favor of the many sins of this world.

Let us humble ourselves before Jesus and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/06/reflection-for-june-15-wednesday-of.html

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 GOD WHO REWARDS: “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:4

Dale Lugue was riding the jeepney one day when he saw a poor young boy he knew. He immediately calculated how much money he had. He had money for his fare and if he gave some to the boy, he wouldn’t have any money left. Dale decided to give his extra P5 coin to him anyway. No one knew he had nothing left, but God knew.

When he returned home, his sister surprised him when she handed him an envelope with money. It was P5,000. She said, “Kuya, here’s something you can use for anything you need.” Dale was amazed. He knew it was the Lord rewarding him for what he did for the poor boy earlier.

He also recounts the time he invited a poor child to have breakfast with him in his home. Days later, he was invited to a banquet where he was treated to sumptuous food for free. Coincidence? Dale believes it’s the Lord’s doing.

Indeed, we can never outdo God’s generosity. He sees the intentions of hearts and rewards righteousness and kindness. He is a Father who cares and loves and provides for every need. His greatest reward is eternity with Him. Marjorie Ann Duterte (marjorie. travels@gmail.com)

Reflection: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” (Matthew 10:42)

Father, help us to give as You give, with hearts that long to love You through the poor. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-18

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1ST READING: Elisha wants a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. I believe that this desire of Elisha is really a compliment to Elijah and the effect Elijah’s ministry had on Elisha and the rest of Israel. Elisha, in desiring a double portion, indicates he wants to follow in Elijah’s footsteps and be nothing less for the people than Elijah was. Let us all seek to do the greater things Jesus promised we would do if we trust in Him. 2 Kings 2:1, 6-14

GOSPEL: It does not really matter what people think of us; what matters is who we really are and how God sees us. So much of our lives remains unknown to others and known only to God. Let us pray and hope that what we do with our lives is truly pleasing to Him, regardless of what it is to others. Of course, we also pray that our lives will be an inspiration to others. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

think:  It does not really matter what people think of us; what matters is who we really are and how God sees us.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-18

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SECRET BUSINESS: There were three common practices of piety among the Jews, namely, almsgiving, fasting and prayer. The Church takes these practices each Lenten season as we prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery. Jesus is teaching His followers the value of these practices when done in secret and not to draw attention to themselves. It was common among many to make themselves known. This defeats the purpose of the pious practice. We are only too aware in our own days of how people boast of their good works, calling attention to themselves and lusting in their pride and vanity.

The secret place that Jesus refers to is the storage room in the house, hidden from the main area and probably without windows. It is a good image to reflect on. This secret place is the innermost part of our being, where our spirit meets God’s and enjoys loving conversation with the Father who sees all in secret. Perhaps the more we are in touch with the love of God and our identity as His sons and daughters, the less likely we will seek to prove ourselves to others. We will be content that the Father sees and knows everything — and that is our reward.

Jesus considers hypocrites those who boast of their good works, those who pray so as to be seen in public, and those who look gloomy to let others know they are fasting. Their pious acts add up to nothing in the eyes of God since they already have their reward in calling attention to themselves. The hypocrite hides his motives behind the exterior action of looking holy. This is abhorrent to God. How secure are you in the love of God? Is it enough for you that you do these things in secret? Do you trust that God sees and knows all things? How do you seek approval from others? Are you one who seeks to be the center of attention? This is an indication that you are not fully won over by the love of God. Sometimes this takes a lifetime. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you seek the approval of others or of God?

Lord, let my heart take comfort in You and not seek the attention of others. May I be found pleasing in Your sight. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-06-18

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SIMPLICITY – “So that your almsgiving maybe secret.” – Matthew 6:4

How would you define “simplicity”? It was during one of the faculty formation meetings that this question was posed. Among several views raised, I was most satisfied with the definition that simplicity means “purity of intention.” So I don’t have this virtue if I join the mission team because I want to travel. Neither does a priest who chose his vocation to give in to a hometown wish to have a priest from their town. Nor a volunteer who served Yolanda victims just to be one with the crowd.

Jesus warns us against “performing religious acts for people to see.” He wants us to be single-minded for Him. He wants us to be simple. He wants us to be pure.

For the many of us who would fall short from the expectations of the Lord, the call is to pray and ask for grace. The good news is that the intention and desire to be pure is good enough for Jesus! Cristy Galang (cristy_cc@yahoo.com)

Reflection: “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.” (Leo Tolstoy)

Lord Jesus, please purify my intentions, my motives and all that is in me, that I may develop the virtue of simplicity and be pleasing before You.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-06-17

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GOD LOOKS BEYOND APPEARANCES – The Gospel proclamation for today reminds us of Ash Wednesday. This leads me to recall a memorable Ash Wednesday experience last year. An unexpected need for a retreat facilitator for the growing community of the Daughters of St. Paul in Pakistan made me go to their community in Lahore, where I had been 22 years ago. I arrived in Lahore via Bangkok on February 19 and celebrated the beginnings of Lent in that country. During the Ash Wednesday Mass that I had with the nuns, we had the imposition of ashes on the forehead, but right after the liturgical celebration — before going out into the streets — we had to erase our cross of ashes. In contrast, I thought of how Filipinos in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines try to preserve their cross of ashes the whole day.

It is a good thing, and we must be grateful, that we in the Philippines are able to publicly celebrate our Christian faith. However, as the Gospel proclaims, what is more important is the congruence of our external acts of piety with what is in our hearts and minds. God sees what is deep within us. He cannot be simply taken by appearances.

Returning to my story about my Lenten experience in Pakistan, I found out another interesting detail. They may not be so keen about keeping their cross of ashes on their foreheads, but their way of fasting and abstinence for Ash Wednesday shames the Filipino way. Having to witness to the Christian faith before Muslims, who are accustomed to fast from everything from sunrise to sunset for the whole month of Ramadan, the devout Catholics in Pakistan fast and abstain from sunrise to sunset of Ash Wednesday by taking only tea — even when on a social call. Fr. Domie Guzman SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What motivates you to be faithful and fervent with your prayers and other religious practices? Do you pray in a “secret place”? What is your favorite place for personal prayer where you can truly pray well? Why?

Help me to live holy, Lord, especially when no one is looking.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-06-17

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DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? – And your Father who sees what is done in secret will repay you. – Matthew 6:6

“I have a secret,” says my friend. I lean towards her and I’m all ears. I can’t tell you the secret but I can tell you that I am happy she trusts me enough to share what’s important to her.

Prayer is like this. It is an intimate conversation between close friends. I can tell God my deepest secrets and I believe He also wants to share His with us. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know,” He said in Jeremiah 3:33.

I learned that God loves the humble and hidden things. In SriLanka, there is a beautiful and rare flower called kadupul, which blooms fully at midnight and completely wilts before dawn. No one sees it blooming and dying, but I believe it makes God smile.

There is also the snow gum tree, whose height is proportional to the depth of its roots. Like this tree, we will grow to our fullest potential when our roots are nourished in prayer. What we do in secret will bear fruit, like a person whose skin glows because of the healthy food he eats. What is done in secret is ultimately rewarded by God’s overflowing love and generous servings of the fruits of His Spirit. Marjorie Ann Duterte (marjorie.travels@gmail.com)

Pope Francis Says: “Praise is the ‘breath’ which gives us life, because it is intimacy with God, an intimacy that grows through daily praise.”

Lover of hidden things, draw us close to Your heart and tell us great and unsearchable things we do not know.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-06-15

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DEEDS DONE WITHOUT POMP – Our Gospel reading today is also the one read every Ash Wednesday. It may seem strange, right? But when you simply consider the threefold Lenten precept of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, then it makes perfect sense.

In other words, fasting, prayer and almsgiving need not be limited only to the Lenten season. Any time can be a moment for us to act, in terms of sacrificing something — be it time, food and drink, and superfluous material possessions — for the sake of the less fortunate and more needy. Such sacrifice, our Lord tells us, ought to be done without fanfare or ostentatiousness.

Take note: it isn’t only power-hungry politicians who are epal (flauntingly thick-skinned). We are all often tempted to post “press releases,” trumpet our achievements, brag about our accomplishments. There were unfortunate instances of this during that most memorable visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines on January 15-19, 2015. But there was also an overriding theme which gave guidance and meaning to the whole event: “Mercy and Compassion.”

It was fittingly so. For with that, myriads of possibilities were available to practice those two virtues, especially by means of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These are concrete helpful deeds, like feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, burying the dead, praying for the living and dead, and so on. But again, such deeds ought to be done without pomp.

Jesus teaches us that if we carry out these works, we have the best audience of all — no other than God Himself. And that should be enough. To Him then — and certainly not to our fellow mortals — do we rightfully “show off” our accomplishments. Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you tempted to show off acts of mercy that you do for the needy? Hold it! There’s only one Audience to whom it matters most.

Dearest Lord, keep me from desiring earthly reward and recognition for any good deed that I do. Help me to always remember that my true reward awaits me in heaven. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-06-15

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June 17, 2015

Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time B

2 Cor 9:6-11, Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Don’t Trumpet Your Service

Jesus tells us that when we do any service to others we should not make it a public show. Do service in private. Why does Jesus say so?

There can be many reasons:

  1. First of all, all that we are and all that we have in our life are His merciful gifts. “You have received freely, so give freely”, says the Gospel. He has given all these gifts to us without any show at different moments in our life.  When we ourselves are thus receivers of God’s favours, why should we trumpet a small service that we do to others?
  2. In reality, we do not possess anything at all, everything belongs to God. How can we pretend to give that which we do not have? Psalm 24: 1 says, “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein”. Again Psalm 50 says, “The world and all that is in it is mine”.
  3. If the act of giving renders one extra credit, fame and hounour, the act of receiving makes one humble. Humility is needed to receive. Giver can be proud, but the receiver always feels humbled. So do not make one who is already humble, humiliated.
  4. When we make public the service we do, we are appreciated by the people and in this way we are rewarded, and our ego is satisfied. Jesus asks us not to count on human rewards, but on the heavenly reward that will be deposited in heaven and which will be poured out on us on crucial moments in our life in the form of his merciful graces. Desire for the reward of eternity.

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2015-06-17

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Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kgs 2: 1-6; Mt 6: 6: 1-6,16-18

Don’t Trumpet Your Service

Jesus tells us that when we do any service to others we should not make it a public show. Do service in private. Why does Jesus say so?

There can be many reasons:

  1. First of all, all that we are and all that we have in our life are His merciful gifts. “You have received freely, so give freely”, says the Gospel. He has given all these gifts to us without any show at different moments in our life.  When we ourselves are thus receivers of God’s favours, why should we trumpet a small service that we do to others?
  1. In reality, we do not possess anything at all, everything belongs to God. How can we pretend to give that which we do not have? Psalm 24: 1 says, “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein”. Again Psalm 50 says , “The world and all that is in it is mine”.
  2. If the act of giving renders one extra credit, fame and hounour, the act of receiving makes one humble. Humility is needed to receive. Giver can be proud, but the receiver always feels humbled. So do not make one who is already humble, humiliated.
  3. When we make public the service we do , we are appreciated by the people and in this way we are rewarded, and our ego is satisfied. Jesus asks us not to count on human rewards, but on the heavenly reward that will be deposited in heaven and which will be poured out on us on crucial moments in our life in the form of his merciful graces. Desire for the reward of eternity. Dr. Jacob Marangattu CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-06-15

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 11TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 6:1-6, 16-18. UNSA MAN ANG KINAIYA NGA ANGAY NATONG DALHON DIHA SA PAGBUHAT OG MAAYO? Si Kristo nag-ingon nga kon ang atong tuong kamot mohatag og limos, dili nato angay’ng pahibaloon ang atong walang kamot. Iya kining pamaagi sa pagtudlo kanato nga dili magpasigarbo sa atong mga maayong buhat. Usahay sa atong pagbuhat og maayo, adunay laing tawo nga mapasidunggan. Kon mahitabo kini, dili kita angay’ng masuko o masina. Hinoon, isipon nato kini nga kahigayonan sa pagpakita sa Ginoo nga ang atong pagtabang kinasingkasing gayod, ug nga wala kita mag-apas sa tawhanong pagdayeg lamang. Si Frank A. Clark nag-ingon: “Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.” Para sa mga sumusunod ni Kristo, ang langitnong ganti mas bililhon pa kaayo kaysa pasidungog sa mga tawo. Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/06/wednesday-of-11th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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The Danger of Vanity

June 17, 2015 (readings)

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Father Walter Schu, LC

Matthew 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.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a living faith. Though I am so inclined to sin and weakness, I trust in your mercy. I want to show my love for you in this meditation. I long for my recompense to come only from you, not from people’s applause.

Petition: Lord, help me to act with greater purity of intention in my life.

  1. Who Do You Seek to Please:In today’s Gospel reading, Christ presents a difficult challenge and, at the same time, a great consolation. His teaching can be summed up with a simple phrase: In everything we do, act always before God alone. At the end of our life, all that will remain is what we have done for God and our brothers and sisters. Everything else, all of our vanities, our desires to be esteemed, loved or taken into account will vanish on the last day, like fog disappears under the rays of the sun. The challenge is clear: to act before God with absolute purity of intention. But where is the consolation? Our heavenly Father “sees in secret.” What might never be perceived or recognized or appreciated by the world will one day be rewarded in heaven.
  2. Between You and God:Mother Theresa echoes the Gospel teaching in a brief poem entitled “It’s Between You and God.”

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight. Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

Why? Because in the final analysis, all of this is between you and God

It was never between you and them anyway.

  1. Our Everlasting Reward:Christ declares three times that hypocrites who act before others have already received their reward. One day each of us will stand alone before Christ. Our eternal destiny will depend upon the outcome of that moment. May we not discover to our chagrin that our hands are empty because we have secretly acted to win the applause of men. Rather, may we perform our good deeds in secret, not letting our left hand know what our right is doing. Then our heavenly Father, “who sees what is hidden” will repay us.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for always seeing what is hidden, for always being ready to reward what is done for you. Your words and the example of holy men and women inspire me on this point. I wish to live facing you and eternity and to give up all my vain ambitions and worries about what others think of my actions.

Resolution: I will renew my purity of intention in the different activities of the day, doing them out of love for Christ and to help establish his Kingdom.

epriest.com/reflections/view/422

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June 15, 2016

REFLECTION:

In order to determine the morality of an action (i.e whether is it good or bad), one has to take into account three things: the circumstances of the action (which only make it better or worse), the nature of the action and, most importantly, the intention of the one doing the action. This latter condition is so decisive that, if a person does an objectively wrong action (while not knowing it is wrong) but with a right intention, then that person will please God.

In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus zeroing in on the intention of two opposite categories of people. In the first category, the people do good actions (alms, prayer, fasting) but with the wrong intention: they are acting for the gallery. They act “in order to be praised,” as the text says, or “in order to be seen” or “so that people can see.” The words “in order that” or “so that” clearly refer to their aim, their intention.      \

In the second category, the people do the same good actions but only to please the heavenly Father. And this purity of intention earns them the Father’s warm approval.

When we perform a good action, do we act to impress people or do we want to please our heavenly Father?

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 11th Week of the Year

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