By Melanie Rigney

 

What's Your Motivation? WINE

Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 6:1

 

I recently attended an event in support of a Catholic women’s ministry. The heavy hors d’oeuvres were delicious, the couple’s home tastefully decorated, and the other guests were friendly.

 

Two women gave witness to how the ministry had helped them, and someone else gave a history. But as closing time neared, I wondered: when would we get to the pitch for money?

 

No Shakedown

 

It came eventually, almost as an afterthought. A ministry leader said the hosting couple would provide a not-insubstantial matching grant for donations in the next month. We could put our information on a list if we wanted to be contacted. That was it. Nobody told us to take out our checkbooks or gave us a QR code or PayPal/Venmo/Zelle account information.

 

I thought about other events I’ve attended, religious and otherwise. The organizers are passionate about what they’re doing, but often, it becomes about them—how many hours a week or a month they contribute, how much money they’ve donated, and how much money or time each of us should pony up.

 

Audience of One

 

We all believe the worthy causes into which we pour our time, talent, and treasure should be of interest to our friends and acquaintances. There’s nothing wrong with sharing our passion, just as there’s nothing wrong with saying grace before a meal where our table mates aren’t believers or offering to pray for someone in distress.

 

But in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warns against practicing piety in front of people for the purpose of being seen—and, by extension, admired, esteemed, or maybe even envied. Our evangelization and prayer don’t necessarily need to be completely private but should always be about pleasing God, not about atta-girls for us.

 

Prayer:

Jesus, please open my eyes to the places my piety is about me, me, me, and not offered for God’s glory.

Call to Action:

Take a hard look at your faith-related social media posts or emails of the past week. Are there places you are humble- or not-so-humble-bragging rather than showing your faith humbly?

 

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