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.” (Mt 6:1)
Today is the day — the first day of the holy season of Lent.
This season begins with some very solemn and sobering reminders. It tells us that we need to repent for our sins, to do good, and to remember that we are all going to face our mortality: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.
One of the episodes of Touched By An Angel recounted the story of a man who saw a dark and frightening tunnel as well as the Angel of Death in a near-death experience. The man became so frightened of what was awaiting him that he decided to “repent”. However, his idea of repentance was a kind of “buying his way” into heaven. He even went so far as to keep a list in a notebook of all the good deeds that he was doing.
Eventually, he learned that it was more important to do good deeds for the sake of others, not for the purchase of heaven. He turned his life around as he entrusted himself and his unsure future to God.
That appears to be the opening admonition of today’s readings. The people were reminded by Jesus to perform righteous deeds not for others to see but for the Lord. Why? Because, as Jesus stated, if we receive a reward for our deeds here on earth, that is already our recompense. We can expect nothing else.
Jesus want us to be more concerned about the plight of others rather than of ourselves.
We begin a season that can make us a radically different kind of people. If we live this season correctly, we will open our eyes to the needs of others in ways that we have not managed to do in the past.
Plunge headlong into this season. Trust in God and do all that you can to serve God’s people. In the process, you will find your heavenly Father well pleased when you get to see Him face to face.
FAITH ACTION: Make time, today, for God. Ask God to open your eyes to the things that need to change in your life. Be honest with yourself. Figure out what you need to do and ask God for the grace to accomplish it this Lent.
[Remember, today is a day of fast and abstinence.]