Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
The appearance does not deceive
“(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do … Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing … And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners …Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites … Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting … And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. Mt 6,1-6.16-18
The today’s gospel shows us some sketches, which are all exhortations for our everyday life: to give alms, to pray and to fast. In each of it there are two main characters, which Jesus contrasts: the “rights” who dialogue in secret with the Lord, as it happens in every true love, and the “hypocrites” who seek instead the admiration from the other men. It is the eternal conflict between the to be and the appearance. The exhortation of Jesus to take care of the to be is especially appropriate, in this our time in which an exasperated attention is devoted, sometimes obsessive, to the image. The everyday invasion of TV performances, dominated by the search for admiration in the audience, showing persons more and more beautiful; the need to propose ourselves, in the world of the work, to unknown persons in which we should inspire immediate confidence and liking; the continuous comparison with the others, often less benevolent and hypercritical; everything seems to help to turn the sound care of ourselves “Anoint your head and wash your face”, to a sort of cult of our own image, which, in the most fragile persons, may come to serious diseases, such as anorexia. Perhaps all this happens because we have transferred the focus from the eyes of God to the attention of the human eye. Perhaps it would be enough that we feel watched by God with his loving and gracious glance of Father, not to need anymore the admiration of the others. Perhaps it would be enough to live much more in the faith to become truly beautiful, by that beauty which makes the feelings of the heart shining on the face.