Jesus said, "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:1-6,16-21
I remember clearly where I was on September 11, 2001. I went to a doctor's appointment in Wilmington Delaware and then on to a clergy meeting. I was oblivious to what was happening that morning as I was listening to music from a CD in my car. I walked into the Cathedral and was told what happened. We clergy met and some discussed at length the prayer services they were planning and the other statements that would be made. I finally couldn't contain myself any longer. I jumped up and said, "I need to be with my children, I need to be with my family!" My treasures, which I am most greedy about, are the ones I love, my daughters and my husband. I could no longer converse but needed to see them face to face and make sure they were okay.
Jesus instructed his disciples on the basics of being a faithful Christian. Those who are faithful in order to get attention, status or wealth are not numbered among the faithful. God expects us to seek a relationship with God not the adoration of people. God loves us and gives us families, friends and communities in which to live. We are blessed with an abundance of love. Our task is to live humbly and gratefully, always putting others first, always serving since the love we have is the gift of God and the sign of God's presence with us.
Today, as we begin the journey of Lent, I ask God to help me be humble and grateful throughout the day. May my every word and action lift others up. May we be the source of renewal for others. May we love genuinely and serve with great joy, for in doing so, God's love is made visible and tangible in the world.