Purity of Intention

One rainy Sunday afternoon after serving at the Mass, a man approached me and was asking for some money. I gave him a doubting look and asked him what it was for. He told me briefly about his story. His wife left him and his children in Makati and he wanted to follow her to the province where she went and make an attempt to fix their marriage.

I was full of doubt of this man’s intention for asking money. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck that time and that added to the reason why I was hesitant to give. I only had less than two hundred pesos that afternoon and I would be forced to skip dinner and breakfast if I would choose to give. He was looking at me in the eye and I was struck with compassion. The doubt was still in my heart, but still gave him all the money that I had. When I was handing over the money, I saw how teary eyed and thankful he was that it moved me to wipe away my doubts on this intention.

A month later, while I was about to enter the church for another Sunday Mass, I saw him once more and he quickly approached me while waving his hands. He thanked me again and promised to repay me as soon as he could. I refused with a smile. His gesture doubled down his sincerity and proved his purity of intention in seeking help.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about purity of intention. It has always been a challenge to ask myself whenever I perform good deeds. Is it just for others to witness? Is it for me to feel good about myself? Or is it ultimately for the love of God?

By: Sem. Alvin R. Cedo

Today’s Gospel

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

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