WEDNESDAY, ELEVENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
2 Kgs 2: 1, 6-14; Ps 31: 20-21, 24; Mt 6: 1-6, 16-18
AUTHENTIC HUMILITY IS LIVING IN TRUTH
The Sermon on the Mount continues in today’s gospel passage. After reflecting on some cornerstones of the Jewish faith, Jesus analyses some attitudes that are very common in religious people – of all religions, of all eras, us Catholics included. Jesus recalls the essential, the authenticity, the truth of the things we do and say. Almsgiving is a positive thing; one notices his brother or sister and concretely comes to his or her aid. But if it becomes an ostentation of the gesture, a manifestation of superiority, a strengthening of the ego, then it becomes sterile. Fasting can be a way to reaffirm the priority of the soul over the body, an instrument of discipline and asceticism. But it can also become a way of showing off, of presenting oneself to others as a pious and mortified Christian. Prayer is an intimate and personal encounter with God and, if done together with other brothers and sisters, it is the celebration of the works of God recognized in the life of the community. But we can also use it for ulterior motives, to be recognized in the church community as someone virtuous, someone special, someone ‘holy.’
How often does our behaviour depend on the judgment of others! How many times in the day we do or say things, careful about how we will be judged by those we love! Jesus asks us, in faith, to take a completely different attitude, to practice justice, almsgiving, prayer and fasting away from the gaze of others, having in mind only the presence of the Lord. Our world does not consider discretion and sobriety as values; the Master reminds us that authentic humility that is manifested in living truthfully, is essential to be able to ‘access’ the world of God. Before God, we do not need to be different from what we are. We can be ourselves with all our limitations, without fear of appearing unwelcome to him.
Response: Be strong, let your heart take courage, all who hope in the Lord.
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