Advent Day 24 of 50: Private Access
Thus far, Jesus has laid the groundwork for his essential teachings. He invites us to aspire to be Christ-like. The teaching is revolutionary because adhering to it unfolds the formula for lasting peace. The difficulty of accepting the teachings, though, stems from the fact that they are diametrically opposed to the ways of a world that is consumed by materialism and ego-glorification.
In this next portion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out the method by which we can accept the Teachings of Christ.
He starts by instructing, Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. …Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Giving and helping others is important, but even more significant than the act of charity is the manner in which it is done. Jesus makes yet another call for sincerity, this time in terms of our actions. Your relationship with God should be simple. Not showy. Private. Between you and your Maker. Herein, Jesus gives private access to God eternal. To take advantage of that access, you merely have to be sincere. Give, so your left hand does not know what your right hand is doing.
Let us pray, from the 8th hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer, Searcher of secrets, I have sinned against you, willingly and unwillingly, knowingly and unknowingly. Grant me forgiveness; since from my birth through font of baptism to this day, I have sinned before you Lord, with all my senses and in all the members of my body. Have mercy upon your creatures, and on me. Amen