Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, Ps. 112:1-4,9, Matthew 6:1-6,16-18
“Beware of practising your piety before others to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
In the first book of the Bible, we are presented with a story of two brothers, Cain and Abel. The two brothers offered sacrifices to God, but while that of Abel was accepted, Cain’s sacrifice was rejected by God.
As to why Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, we do not know, but St. Paul gives us a possible clue in today’s first reading: “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
If there is a giving that God loves, it follows that there is also one that does not please God. The first thing we must remember when presenting to God is that God does not need our gifts but is interested in the spirit with which we give.
Hence, as St. Paul teaches us today, we must avoid giving as though we are forced. All our giving must come from our hearts; we must be happy about it.
On the other hand, in his sermon on the mount, Jesus warned about loud giving, that is, giving to attract attention, not from the heart, but to make a statement to others. Jesus teaches us that this kind of giving is not to God but to people, and instead of getting our reward from God, the only reward we get is the praises of people.
“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and the streets, that men may praise them. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:2-3).
Giving is a spiritual act, a form of communication with God. This principle of giving also applies to prayer as well as fasting. Jesus warns about praying in public not because God does not hear prayers in public but because the primary motivation for such prayer is not to talk to God but to talk to people.
Aren’t we being hypocrites when we pray just so that people may hear us pray? Know this: it is never between you and them; it is always between you and God.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, free me totally from self-deception. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious, Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, Ps. 112:1-4,9, Matthew 6:1-6,16-18)
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu