– Wednesday of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time –
“… do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” [Matthew 6:3]
The Gospel today teaches us two lessons, firstly, to give, pray and serve God, secondly, to do so purely. Jesus says, “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Jesus is essentially teaching us a lesson on humility within this passage, but this can be a difficult concept to grasp and apply practically. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” If we are to keep our good works secret, as Jesus says in the Gospel today, then how can we also follow His command to let our light shine before others? Isn’t Jesus contradicting himself?
We must understand that Jesus is addressing the intentions of the giver. You see, it is not about secrecy, it is about motive. It’s a very human temptation to show off our virtuousness, wanting to be noticed and applauded. However, we should be driven to give as an act of personal worship and not so we might be praised and honored by others. If the admiration of others is the motive, then that person has received their reward, but they’ve traded an eternal honour for a temporal one.
Rather than concerning ourselves with who will know about our devotion, let’s focus on who will be glorified by our devotion and inspired to join us in this journey. If our motives are pure, we can go ahead and let our light shine before others.
by Jessica Laidler