Ash Wednesday, Year A – 2023
Children like to exchange secrets as they whisper to one another.
Teenagers will hide their secrets in a very private diary.
Spies, of course, are masters of the secret world.
Lovers, it is said, thrive on well-guarded secrets of their own.
Could it be that even… God enjoys secrets?
Today’s gospel text would lead us to believe so (Matthew 6:1-6,16-18).
Three times, Jesus repeats:
“Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
The gospel message could be summarized in these words:
When we want to please God, we should not be acting a part in public.
Praying, fasting, giving alms – these special actions that we are advised to do in this period of Lent –
should be done only and purely “in secret” – with the sole intention of coming closer to God.
The temptation can arise to impress others with our self-denial, or our generosity.
Pretending to be holy is not the genuine holiness, but make-believe.
Showing off under the guise of religious observance is something fictitious.
Jesus’ message is clear and direct:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.
If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Intimacy with God – which is what Lent invites us to – is best achieved “in secret”.
This is THE way to God’s presence experienced in deed and in truth…
Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/mercredi-des-cendres-annee-a-2023/
Source: Image: God’s Kingdom Come – She Reads Truth