Matthew 6:1-4 "“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Reflection. If we are to give alms in secret, why do we pass the plate around in church? At least in many churches there are 'envelope schemes' so we can't check whether our neighbour in the pew is more or less generous than we are...Many churches use bank transfers or standing orders, and then we have to hope that no-one looks askance at folk when the plate passes someone by. Money does funny things to us doesn't it?
Jesus's teaching here is so clear. He is saying keep quiet about your generosity. Be generous, yes, but be secretive about it. And we come to this passage in Matthew's Gospel in the midst of a rise in inflation and a cost of living crisis.
Prayer. Lord Jesus, sometimes I baulk at your words. Send, please, your Holy Spirit to help me. Please be patient and gracious with me again and again. Amen.