There is always a tendency and a temptation to show off. People wish to show what they are and what they have.
Marketing strategists understand and take advantage of this. To sell, they make us believe that their products will be useful for us, will improve our lives and will make us look or become better people. Their products will improve our appearance and looks, our intelligence, prestige and standing in society.
Appearing good and important is very important for most people. It gives people the respect of others; it gives them honor and builds up their ego.
The Gospel reading today teaches values very different from the common values and priorities of the world we live in. The reading challenges us not to live for the public and the now but to live for God and the thereafter. “Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness 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 . . .” “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 secret will reward you.”
We are challenged to change our way of thinking and acting. When we try to please others, we may do so at the expense of our duty to please God. When our priority is the praise of others around us, we put God aside.
Let us not lose heart when we do good deeds but are not acknowledged by other people. We should be very content that God sees and rewards even the smallest good deed we do. That, after all, is what really matters.