Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday Special

Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
- Matthew 6:1
The Gospel reading we hear today tells us what we are supposed to be doing during Lent: almsgiving (v2-4), prayer (v5-6), and fasting (v16-18). It also tells us how we are supposed to do these things: in secret.

If we make a big fuss about our Lenten activities, who are we hoping to impress? Our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers? What good is that? If we are living a good Christian life anyway, they already know what kind of person we are. Sure, they might be impressed with the extra effort we're putting in. They might even be persuaded to follow our lead. But that shouldn't be why we do it. If it is, then the only reward we'll get is a pat on the back from our friends.

No. During Lent we do these things for love of God, love of Jesus. And God sees everything we do. So if we keep our Lenten activities to ourselves, we can be sure that we are doing them for the right reason: for love. And when we do them for love, our heavenly Father will reward us in ways unimaginable.

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