Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Cor9,6-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps112,1-4,9; Gosp. Accl.: Jn14,23; Gospel: Mt6,1-6,16-18
We live in a world of make believe. The advancement in technology has made it to such an extent that not all that is seen is to be believed. Through technological advancement, fraudulent people have discovered a new instrument for mass manipulation. We can here think of so many false stories that are peddled through the media and that are believed by people who have no possibility of cross checking their veracity. Such is the compelling attraction of falsehood.
One terrible cankerworm of our modern age is show off that is rooted in pride and self glorification. We see people who carry themselves as if what they have has not been given to them. We see people who have no regard for their fellowmen. We see people who are so besotted and blinded with their self worth that they think and behave as if the world belongs to them. These people forget that the grave is the ultimate leveller!
Unfortunately, this terrible sin of show off and pride is also found among believers. Our Lord today condemned all types of show off and pride. He condemned all types of externalisation of religiosity that has no bearing with the inner life. Our Lord condemned religious practises that are done to please ourselves, to massage our bloated egos, rather than for the purpose of giving praise, honour, adoration and true worship to God.
Our Lord condemned the hypocritical attitudes of those who practise their piety or do their religious duty in order to be seen by men. Our Lord said these best form of worship is that in which we do not call attention to ourselves but direct the focus on God. It is only with this attitude that our deeds can bring us the needed blessing from God.
The word of God therefore challenges us today to reconsider our attitudes. In line with this, our First Reading exhorts us to sow bountifully into the work of God because God loves a cheerful giver. This is because ultimately, God is the provider who is able to provide us with every blessing in abundance, so that we "may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work."
When a believer is generous without calling attention to himself, there is a blessing from the Giver again. The word of God today promises: "He who supplies seed for the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity...."
St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a young man who very early in his life dedicated himself totally to God. Though from a very wealthy background, he renounced everything to follow Jesus in the religious life. He totally dedicated himself to the Lord in the poor that he contracted the plague while tending the sick during the terrible plague of the last decade of 16th Century. At the age of twenty three, the sickness claimed his young life.
His life challenges us to be truly generous with what we have: our resources, talents, endowments, and most importantly, our lives. He did his duties to God and neighbour without calling attention to himself. He allowed our Lord to receive the glory since it rightly belongs to Him. May his life inspire us to greater longing for holiness and union with God.
Let us pray: "O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life, grant, through his merits and intercession, that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.