Daily Bible Reading - June 19, 2024

Daily Bible Reading - June 19, 2024
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After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.

They answered, “A man met us on the way, and he said to us: ‘Return to the king who sent you and say to him in the name of Yahweh: Why do you send men to consult Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Is there no God in Israel? Because of this, you shall not rise again from the bed where you lay down, but shall die there.’”

The king asked them, “What was the appearance of the man who met you on the way and told you this?” They answered him, “The man wore a mantle of fur with a leather belt around his waist.” The king then said, “He is Elijah from the town of Tishbe.”

Ahaziah sent a captain of fifty men who went up with his fifty men to get him. Elijah was seated at the top of the mountain. The captain said to him, “Man of God, the king commands you to come down.” Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, then may fire come down from heaven and devour you and your men.” Fire came down from heaven and devoured him with his fifty men. The king again sent to him another captain of fifty who went up and said to him, “Man of God, the king says that you are to come down at once.” Elijah answered, “If I am a man of God, then may fire come down from heaven and devour you and your men.” Fire came down from heaven and devoured them all.

The king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third one went up, and, as he came, he fell on his knees before Elijah and said to him, “Man of God, I beg you to pardon me as well as my fifty men; we are all your servants. I have heard that fire came down from heaven twice and devoured the two captains with their fifty men. So now, do spare my life.”

Gospel: Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

Be careful not to make a show of your good deeds before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be noticed in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by people.

I assure you, they have their reward. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.

When you pray, do not be like those who want to be noticed. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners, in order to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have their reward.

When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face, as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting.

I tell you this: they have been paid in full already.

When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father, who sees beyond appearances.

And your Father, who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.

REFLECTION:

“Give alms and fast.”

Today’s Gospel is of two parts: on almsgiving (cf. Mt. 6:1-6) and on fasting (cf. Mt. 6:16-18).

As Christians, we are expected to give alms, and also, to fast. However, good deeds like almsgiving and fasting can be done with a wrong motivation: to show off. Jesus cautions us of such tendency to do good acts for the wrong motive.

Moreover, let us bear in mind that the heavenly Father always sees us in a nd out. God is the one who will reward us for the good deeds done with the right motivation.

Further, the Greek verb used here to refer to the hypocrites is apech? “to receive in full.” The verb is related to an act of issuing a receipt for what has been paid in full. But the verb used to refer to the reward coming from God is apodid?mi, which primarily means “to give out” or “to yield.” God’s grace yields abundantly when we do good acts with sincerity.

Hence, God’s reward is not transactional but transformational. This is because when we do good deeds without hypocrisy, we open ourselves up to God’s grace, which in turn makes us better individuals.

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