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  • Francisco Gonzalez

Ash Wednesday

It’s lent and in todays gospel,  Jesus teaches us about the true essence of giving, praying, and fasting. He tells us to not be like the hypocrites who do good deeds only to be seen by others. Instead, when we give to the needy, pray, or fast, we should do it in secret, not for the applause of the world but for the eyes of God alone.

Why is this important for you, who may be questioning or uncertain about faith? There was a period in the life of the Catholic Church in which people were forbidden from questioning their faith. Not today. As our understanding of the Human expands, naturally so does our understanding of God. Important, I think, to note here that our finite brain is incapable of fully grasping the infinite, God. This seems a good time to echo the words of Thomas Aquinas, “if you think you understand God, DROP IT! It’s not Him.” God is truth and to arrive at, understand and accept truth, we must be honest in our pursuit of it. Honesty sometimes requires us to voice our doubts and question our very own belief system.

Todays gospel invites us test, honestly the authenticity of our actions and intentions. We are welcome to take it a step further, it tell us that having tested them, we´d be wise to keep our findings to ourselves. If we find our actions and intentions to be pure and well intended, the moment we share that, we will have shifted the focus and changed the energy of the good deed. If we test them and find ulterior motives in our actions and intentions, then wed do well to resolve those issues in the silence of our own hearts.  Ultimately, we are told to keep the actions between us and God. We do not owe the world an explanation, we owe only Him and explanation. In a a world where much is done for show, Jesus invites us to a genuine relationship with the Divine, one that doesn't require validation from anyone else. This teaching challenges us to examine why we do what we do and encourages us to act from a place of true compassion and connection with others. We must pay special attention here to the word true. We highlight that word because we live in an age when everything is subject to being redefined and what was accepted to pass the rigor of “true” yesterday might not pass it today. When we invoke the word “true,” we speak of the conviction in our hearts that confirms to us what our intentions are as they relate to this particular Biblical passage. Truth by design is a good thing and it is a good place to arrive. We must be truthful with our selves to such a degree that we can admit to ourselves the motive of our actions. I invite you, regardless of where you stand with your faith, to consider the value of sincerity in your actions. Imagine the impact of a world where everyone acted with genuine kindness, not for recognition, but simply because it's the right thing to do. This is the heart of Jesus' message, and it's a call to authenticity that transcends religious boundaries. Let's embrace it together.

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