C--Wednesday of 11th Week of OT--Saint Romuald, Abbot

Why and How Would We Give Arms, Pray and Fast?

Continue his teaching on the law in chapter 5, in this chapter 6 from the writing of Saint Matthew, Jesus began to teach his disciples on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. So, how should we give almsgiving, prayers, and fasting?

Giving arms Jesus said, “Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.” Have we given arms to help someone is because we just want to thank the Lord for giving us this good health to be able to help others and his loving us to continue to keep us into the existence by providing us the fresh air to breath in every moment of our life? Or have we given arms to help others is because we want to be noticed, want people to recognize our business, and want people to know how generous and how good we are?

On praying, Jesus said, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.” This does not mean that we just pray on our own, and we don’t need to pray with the community. Also, in prayer, we don’t have to stand in front of everybody, raise our head up, and raise our voice so others can hear us; but rather, first and foremost, acknowledge all the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us, to thank him with all the good and the bad of a day, and then address our needs since he already knows our needs before we even address to him as he mentioned, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

On fasting, Jesus reminded us saying, “Do not look gloomy, [and] neglect [your] appearance… When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” Once again, Jesus reminds us to fast so not to let others know that we are fasting, but rather to fast because we want to offer it up for the sake of our own sins and the sins of this world.

In all we do either giving arms, praying or fasting, we are invited to do to please the Lord and not to be noticed by others. So, ask ourselves: During Mass, have we focused in the Mass, in the readings, the homily, The Eucharistic Prayer, or we are allowed all kinds of attractions of a day distracted us away from the Mass such as that person made me mad this morning; that man was so annoyed earlier; or that one sang too loud and out of tune, and many other moments of the day that pulled our attention away from the Mass. Another example, during vacation time, we tried to go to Mass, but we ended up so tired or so late so we didn’t go. So, we go to Mass because we want to thank the Lord for the gift of life and many blessings we received, or we only go when we are free and not on vacation.

How should we give arms, prayers, and fasting if it’s not what we ought to do as children of God? What we ought to do we deserve no praise, Saint Augustine once said, because it is our duty. So, almsgiving, prayer and fasting are what we ought to do to glorify the Lord, not to deserve any praise. When you and I give arms, to pray, or to fast, we are reminded these two questions: Why and how do we do it? Decision is yours.

 

Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen


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