Wednesday, March 9, 2011
What Matters Most
Jesus said to his disciples, “Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have been already paid in full. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.”
“When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you.” (Mt 6:1-6.16-18)
It’s Ash Wednesday for us Catholics, the start of Lent towards Easter. Today, I had seen a lot of people wearing crossed ashes on their foreheads. I haven’t had one yet. The ashes simply remind us of where we came from and where we’ll be going... that we are simply passing by in this earth. We are again reminded that everything here is temporary and what is more important is the eternal life with God.
My personal understanding of the gospel is that, we are forbidden to use God or even His Name to show others how godly and what sacrifices we had made to honor and glorify Him. We are not told that good deeds should be hidden, it can never be concealed specially to the person you’re doing it to, but what the gospel is emphasizing is that we should not think or expect that we should be praised by doing it. Maybe, the question we must ask ourselves is who do we impress? Isn’t it more important what God thinks of us rather than what others might think? And we cannot deceive our God; He knows what we think and what we feel... He sees our hearts... He knows everything. If we think, that by making an impact on others with the things we sacrificed for Him will impress our God... think again.
I believed that fasting is having to endure something that is hard for you to do without . And it is not only limited to the abstinence in food and water consumption. But this also includes our favorite activities, pastimes, and habits like playing computer games, drinking beverages, smoking, watching and listening to our favorite show and music icons, using our electronic devices and a lot more things we love to do. The question is can you abstain from all these worldly things as an offering to God. And if you do, can that only be between you and God alone. That is not to brag or show others how much you suffer doing it, but how you truly mean doing it..Remember God sees our intentions inside out.
Also, in my point of view, it is better that you do goodness and be righteous even if no one sees you nor acknowledges your deed... than to put up a show in which you might fool others but not God. What is important in helping is how you helped and what intentions did you have, it is noble if it’s heartily given and not expecting for any in return. Events and symbols are mere reminders to all of us, because humans as we are, we tend to forget. Remember that we will not be judged for the sacrifices we made or for the good things we did during the Lenten season or on particular events or on special days... rather we will be judged according to all our deeds during our lifetime. It is not important as to when we did something to glorify God, every single thing we do in our lives matters to Him and He remembers it all.
It is not the ash in your forehead... nor is it the fasting you made. What matters most is that the deed we do is in accordance to His will and we do it to glorify His name... and to impress Him and Him alone. A HOLY DAY to us all.