In the Gospel Jesus warns us against being show-offs. He says that whether we are helping the poor, or fasting, or praying, we should avoid doing those good things to be seen and praised.
I don’t know about you, but for me that warning of his brings to mind photos picturing someone handing over a big check to the bishop or a hospital. Such publicity has us wondering if those generous donors have ever read what Jesus says on this subject.
At first this reading has us thinking that making displays of our good acts is wrong because it makes us look like hypocrites. However, if you tend closely to what Jesus said you will see he had something else in mind.
He said showing off your good deeds was wrong because you “will have no recompense from your heavenly father,” but if you give in secret, then, “your Father who sees in secret will repay you,” or, “Your Father who sees what is secret will repay you.”
Jesus is telling us that nothing is of more value for us than to increase our intimacy with the Father. We should strive to deepen that intimacy by repeatedly doing everything we can to please no one but him,
Seventy years ago there was a popular song with the title “When You’re Away.” It has this lyric, “When you’re away dear there’s not that I strive to do, save to endear me more fondly my love to you.” There is nothing we should strive for more earnestly than increasing our intimacy with God.