I am currently taking a class at Creighton University called Faith and Moral Development. It is ironic that our discussion in class today is a mirror image of this Gospel passage. I clearly see two very important messages from this reading; the first is honesty.
I do not think it is a coincidence that we are taught honesty is important from the day we are born. My mom and I just had a discussion yesterday on how important honesty is in a relationship. Being continuously honest with my parents has blessed me with a wonderful relationship with them. Of course as I was growing up, I played the trial and error card with honesty. However, as I grew older, I realized that when I was dishonest with my parents, though my relationship with them of course was still full of love and was completely intact, it was not the same relationship I have now after building up trust and being honest. I believe this is one lesson in this Gospel reading for us from God. He never says in this reading that he will love us any less if we lie or are hypocrites – I believe God loves us equally no matter the circumstances. However, I get a feeling that God is saying that being dishonest puts trials in our relationship with God that would not have to be there if we were not being hypocrites. Just like my example with my parents, they still loved me just the same in my more dishonest moments of life. However, if I can have a better relationship with them by simply being honest, why not do it? I see this also in my relationship with God. Why not be honest and have a better relationship with God, instead of choosing dishonesty? I feel like I get the better deal by not falling into hypocritical tendencies.
The other message is a bit more complicated. Jesus keeps talking about different actions people are embarking upon and the rewards they are expecting. His continuous reflection on these hypocritical actions is, “Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.” To be honest, I have no idea what reward Jesus is speaking of. However, after this statement, Jesus explains how this particular situation should be handled. “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.” It was today in class that we talked about rewards in relationship to faith. Faith should not be a bargain. For example, I should not say “God, I will pray more if you let me get a job somewhere for next year.” Do I desperately want a job – yes. But is it OK to bargain with my faith for this job – no. Faith is not about expecting rewards. Our ultimate reward is getting to spend eternity with God. The material items in our lives are not the reward we should be bargaining for, and I believe this Gospel reading does a wonderful job of explaining this concept.
Editor's Note: As Kindra graduated from Creighton University in May, this will be her last Student Daily Reflection. Please keep her in your prayers as she works in psychology research next year, hopefully followed by a summer in Bolivia and further studies in forensic clinical psychology.