First reading 2 Kings 2:1,6-14

Elijah is taken up to heaven

This is what happened when the Lord took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal, Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, the Lord is only sending me to the Jordan.’ But he replied, ‘As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.
  Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’ Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half. He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
  He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 30(31):20,21,24

Let your heart take courage, all who hope in the Lord.
 
How great is the goodness, Lord,
  that you keep for those who fear you,
that you show to those who trust you
  in the sight of men.
 
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
  from the plotting of men;
you keep them safe within your tent
  from disputing tongues.
 
Love the Lord, all you saints.
  He guards his faithful
but the Lord will repay to the full
  those who act with pride.
 
 

Gospel Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘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. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
  ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But 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, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
  ‘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. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. 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; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’
 
 
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Only God

“Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract attention”.
What is the motivation for all that we do? Why do we pray, fast and give
alms? What drives us to serve others? Today, Jesus calls us to be
careful not to do things for God but with the hidden desire to attract notice
for ourselves and get praises from others. If we truly want to follow Him,
we must stop being hypocrites and pretend to be what we are not.
 
We are beloved children of God, and this is all that matters. Rooted in
our true identity, we fast, pray, give alms and serve others with the
motivation to love God and please Him alone. “…whatever you do, do it
all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
 
 
Question for reflection:
Is my heart set on God alone?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.