Reflection on the Daily Readings for 6/17/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Wed. of 3 week. II Corinthians 9:6-11. Psalm 112:1-2.3-4.9.
Matthew 6:1-6,16-18. Lectionary # 367:

Paul sets the tone for the theme of today's liturgical readings. Generosity
is this theme and it is also found in the excerpt from Matthew's Gospel.
God loves a generous giver. We have heard that often but it is here for the
first time in the New Testament in Paul's second letter to the Corinthians.
Jesus will take up the theme when he speaks to us about almsgiving, prayer,
and fasting.

We know that Muslims, Jews, and Christians have the three "pillars" of
prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in their rituals and worship services and
observances so we are on solid God foundation when we hear of them in
Matthew. These acts are to be done with great generosity and without any
pomp or pretense on our part. Narcissism is a no no for these who practice
the three acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Paul tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. That should set us on the
road of giving of ourselves, our talents, and if we are able of our
financial resources to those whom we can and should help. The Psalm also
affirms our theme telling us that we are happy and blessed when we give
lavishly to the poor; our generosity then shall endure forever. We are
blessed when we observe the commandments and suggestions of the Lord.
Jesus in applying this blessing to fasting tells us to be cheerful and not
glum; even to brighten our faces with washing them. Nothing is to be faked
in this act of fasting. It is for the Lord and not for others to say, "My!
what a great fasting person he or she is."

Both Paul and Jesus are opening our hearts, our minds and our eyes to have
a correct attitude to the three generous acts of prayer and fasting and
giving. These help us to have a better image of God who is all kind and
merciful and forgiving age and after age. We realize then another saying,
"God is never outdone in generosity."

We do not have to wait for the Lenten season to do these three acts. They
are healthy for both body and soul even on ordinary days. Amen.