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 noticed.
They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have their
reward. 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 that 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.
We begin Lent today. “Return to me,” he says. “But where
are you, Lord, so that we can return?” we ask. “Look into your
heart and hearth,” he says. He waits within, in the entrails,
while we seek him overseas, in the exteriors. During the season
of Lent 2020, through the terror of pandemic COVID-19, we
were taught this painful truth that God is not primarily in our
external celebrations or fanciful pontifications or pompous
liturgies, but in the ‘sound of sheer silence’ as Elijah had
once encountered. Coronavirus drove us away from external
celebrations and we learned to practice our faith with certain
interiority. We shared our food without trumpeting it to the
world, we shut ourselves in and prayed through sighs and
groans, we washed each other’s feet within the families, our
domestic churches. We shall re-discover such authentic
interiority during this Lent as well, without any tragedies
forcing us to learn. A fruitful Lent to you.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2022