Daily Gospel – Wednesday, June 19, 2024 – Matthew 6:1-6.16-18 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (2Kings 2,1.6-14)

Reading of the Second Book of Kings.

When the Lord wanted to take Elijah up to heaven, in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha left Gilgal. Having arrived at Jericho, Elijah said to Elisha, “Remain here, for the Lord has sent me as far as the Jordan.” And he answered, “As the Lord lives and as yours, I will not leave you.” And they both left together.

Then fifty of the sons of the prophets followed them, and stood apart at a distance, while they two came to the bank of the Jordan. Elijah then took his cloak, rolled it up and hit the water with it, which divided on both sides, so that both walked on dry ground. After they had passed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what you want me to do for you before I am taken from your presence.” Elisha said, “May a double portion of your spirit be given to me.” Elijah replied, “You ask a very difficult thing. If you see me when they take me away from your presence, it will be given to you; otherwise, it will not be given to you.” And it came to pass, as they walked and talked, that a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated them one from another, and Elijah ascended into heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw him and cried out: “My father, my father, Israel’s chariot and its driver!” Afterwards, he didn’t see him again. And taking his clothes, he tore them in two. Then he picked up the cloak that Elijah had dropped and, retracing his steps, stood on the bank of the Jordan. He then took Elijah’s cloak and struck it on the water saying, “Where is the God of Elijah now?” And he struck the waters, and they divided on both sides, and Elisha crossed over the river.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 6,1-6.16-18)

— Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of men, just to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will not receive your reward from your Father who is in heaven. Therefore, when you give do not blow the trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I say to you, they have already received their reward. do not know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms will be hidden. And your Father, who sees what is hidden, will reward you.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who like to pray standing up, in synagogues and on street corners, to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they have already received their reward. On the contrary, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father, who sees what is hidden, will reward you.

When you fast, do not be sad-faced like the hypocrites. They disfigure their faces, so that men can see that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have already received their reward. But you, when you fast, perfume your head and wash your face, so that men may not see that you are fasting, but only your Father, who is hidden. And your Father, who sees what is hidden, will reward you.”

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to delve deeply into the readings that the liturgy offers us, extracting valuable lessons from them for our spiritual and daily lives. The passages we heard today, from the Second Book of Kings and the Gospel of Matthew, invite us to reflect on essential themes such as the continuity of the mission, true devotion and humility in our relationship with God and with others.

Let’s start with the first reading, taken from the Second Book of Kings. This is a rich and powerful story about the transition from the prophet Elijah to the prophet Elisha. Elijah was about to be taken to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha, his faithful follower, was determined to continue his master’s work.

Imagine the scene for a moment: Elijah and Elisha, walking together, knowing that this would be their last moment together. Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel, was about to leave the land, and Elisha, his apprentice, was ready to take on the mantle of spiritual leadership. Elijah tries several times to separate himself from Elisha, but the latter, with firm determination, responds: “I swear by the Lord and by your life that I will not leave you!” Elisha knew that, to continue Elijah’s mission, he needed to be present until the end, receive the necessary blessing and anointing.

When they finally arrive at the Jordan, Elijah, with his cloak, divides the waters, and they both cross dry. It is reminiscent of the crossing of the Red Sea, a sign that God was present and active. When they reach the other side, Elijah asks Elisha: “Ask me what you want me to do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha asks for a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit.

Here, we see the importance of continuing the spiritual mission. Elisha does not ask for riches or worldly power; he asks for his master’s spirit to continue God’s work. This is a profound lesson for all of us: the true inheritance we should seek is not material possessions, but spiritual strength and the ability to fulfill God’s will in our lives.

We now turn to the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus gives us clear instructions on the practice of justice, prayer and fasting. He warns us against hypocrisy and the desire to show off. “Beware of doing your good works before men, to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus teaches us that our acts of piety – almsgiving, prayer and fasting – must be done with purity of heart and humility, not to attract the attention or praise of others, but to please God who sees what is hidden. When we give alms, we should not blow the trumpet before us, but do it in secret. When we pray, we must go into our room, close the door, and pray to our Father in secret. And when we fast, we must anoint our heads and wash our faces, so that it does not appear to men that we are fasting, but only to God.

These instructions from Jesus remind us that true devotion is not in appearances, but in the sincerity of our hearts. God sees beyond appearances and knows our true intentions. He calls us to a life of authenticity and integrity, where our actions are a genuine expression of our love and reverence for Him.

Now, let’s reflect on how these two readings connect and what they teach us about our own spiritual journey. The story of Elijah and Elisha reminds us that God’s mission continues through us. Just as Elisha received Elijah’s mantle, we are also called to receive and continue the mission that Jesus left us. We are invited to be fervent disciples, to seek the double portion of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us on our path.

And how do we do this? Through the sincere practice of our faith, as Jesus teaches us in the Gospel. By practicing justice, prayer and fasting with humility and sincerity, we cultivate a pure heart and a life aligned with God’s will. We do not seek the approval or applause of others, but intimacy with God, who sees us and rewards us in secret.

Let us think for a moment about our daily lives. How many times do we fall into the temptation of doing things to be seen and praised by others? Maybe at work, in our family, or even at church, we seek recognition and validation. Jesus calls us to a life of humility, where our actions are driven by love for God and neighbor, and not by the desire to impress or gain status.

Let us also reflect on our prayer practice. Do we really go into our inner room, close the door, and meet God in secret? Or is our prayer often superficial, distracted, more concerned with words than with true communion with God?

What about fasting? Is it a forgotten or neglected practice in our lives? Fasting is a powerful way to draw closer to God, purify our hearts and discipline ourselves spiritually. Jesus invites us to fast with joy, not with sadness or show, but as an act of sincere devotion to God.

As we leave here today, let us carry these lessons deep into our hearts. Like Elisha, let us be courageous and determined to follow our spiritual mission. Let us ask God for a double portion of His Spirit to guide and strengthen us. And as Jesus teaches us, let us practice our faith with humility and sincerity, seeking to please God in everything we do.

Let’s now have a moment of silence. Let us close our eyes and ask God for the grace to live these lessons in our lives. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us and help us to be faithful, authentic and loving disciples.

Lord, we thank You for today’s lessons. Help us to continue the mission you entrusted to us, with the same spirit of humility and dedication as Elisha. Teach us to practice justice, prayer and fasting with a pure heart, seeking only to please You. May we be light in the world, reflecting Your love and grace in every action and word. Amen.

My brothers and sisters, as we leave here today, let us take with us the hope and determination to live as true followers of Christ. May God’s grace accompany us and may we be instruments of His peace and love in the world. Remember, we are called to live our faith with authenticity and humility – let us seek God in secret, and He, who sees what is hidden, will reward us abundantly. Amen.