Bible Corner

Conscious of the fact that we cannot distribute ashes this Ash Wednesday, I decided to look at the Gospel reading for that day. It is the same one every year. Taken from Matthew’s Gospel, the passage sees Jesus giving some instruction to his disciples. It opens with Jesus saying, “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven”. Then he speaks about three activities that we see as fundamental to our lives of faith: giving alms, praying and fasting. In relation to alms he says, “when you give alms your left hand must not know what your right is doing”. Regarding prayer he says, “and when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place.” Speaking of fasting he says, “When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do; they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting….But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in’secret.”

In describing all three activities Jesus finishes by saying the same thing: “…and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.”