Ash Wednesday - Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 –

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Information about Ash Wednesday - Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 –
Spiritual

Published on February 17, 2014

Author: danmaynes

Source: slideshare.net

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Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Excerpts from The Catholic Lectionary. 2009. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

1 (But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2 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. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so 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. 6 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. 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. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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.

6:16-18 Fasting Many Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). Generally on the second and fifth days of the week. They claimed those days were chosen because they were the days Moses made two separate trips to receive the tablets of law from God on Mount Sinai. The truth was that those two days also happened to be the major Jewish market days, when cities and towns were filled with their desired audience of farmers, merchants, and shoppers.

Those wanting to call attention to their fasting would wear old clothes, sometimes purposely torn, soiled, and with uncombed hair. They covered themselves with dirt and ashes, and even used makeup in order to look pale and sickly. You will recall the word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word for a mask used by actors to portray a certain character or mood. In regard to fasting, some Jewish hypocrites literally resorted to theatrics.

Some would fall down and appear to have passed out because of their fasting. Christ’s message here is that you do acts of worship to please the Father who is in heaven NOT to appear holy to your fellow man. Your relationship is with God who sees into the secret portions of your heart. He knows your intent. You can give a gift out of love or obligation. Prayer and fasting needs to be a gift of love not obligation. A gift given out of obligation is hypocritical and thus valueless.

Excerpts from The Catholic Lectionary. 2009. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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