By: Maggie Leonard
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Reflection—v. 4, 6, 18, ‘…secret…’
Secrets are odd things; usually we keep them in hopes of protecting someone. Maybe we do not trust that person with certain information or fear the truth is too much to handle. Secrets are the fodder of good drama, often resulting in hurt and a rift in relationships. We are told that ‘honesty is the best policy’ and that we must ‘confess our sins.’ So what is going on with the command to give, pray, and fast in secret? I suspect Jesus wants to help us explore one of the grey areas of living our faith: we are individuals who are very easily influenced by others. These instructions outline how we are called to practice justice. Clearly, it is not that these actions are never to be done in public. But doing them in secret changes our very experience of those actions. To do something in secret requires more self-reflection and greater intentionality. When we do something in secret, we are less afraid of the judging eyes of others. There is freedom in secret–perhaps enough for us to do good, hard things.
Prayer God, in secret with you, I find freedom.