In the Gospel, Jesus challenges the motives of the Pharisees and the scribes on showing off their good deeds. This kind of hypocrisy is still very much alive in our generation. We are driven to show off what we have or do because of our need to be appreciated and recognized. Showing off our material wealth and success is often a cover up of our iniquities and incapacity to love. That is why in the first reading, God is encouraging us not to be scandalized of our sins because the sacrifice of Jesus to die on the cross was an act of love that has the power to redeem us, and his resurrection can free us from our sins.
This life transformation took flesh in St. Teresa, whose feast we celebrated last week. She had a lot of sufferings and pains early in her life struggles which ordinary people like us experience. But through prayer and faith in the love of God, she overcame all her “dark nights” and saw the light of Christ. She said, “Prayer is an act of love, and words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts us from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.” She also said that “it is of great importance, when we begin to practice prayer, not to let ourselves be frightened by our thoughts.” If we embrace this kind of attitude in our prayer life, we can remain happy and be at peace in the midst of our daily life struggles. May these words of St. Teresa comfort us, “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God, you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.”