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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 "(But) 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 2 do in the synagogues and in
the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received
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
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.
3 4 In praying, do not babble
like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you
need before you ask him.
5 6 "This is how you are
to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, 7 your
will be done, on earth as in heaven.
8 Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, 9
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test, 10
but deliver us from the evil one.
11 If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others, neither will
your Father forgive your transgressions.
"When you fast, 12 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
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden
will repay you.
13 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures
on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will
your heart be.
14 "The lamp of the body is the eye. If your
eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be
in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness
15 "No one can serve two masters. He will
either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
16 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about
your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will
wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow
or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment
to your life-span? 17
Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from
the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his
splendor was clothed like one of them.
18 If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more
provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly
Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his
righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take
care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
1 [1-18] The sermon continues with a
warning against doing good in order to be seen and gives three examples,
almsgiving (⇒ Matthew 6:2-4), prayer
(⇒ Matthew 6:5-15), and fasting
(⇒ Matthew 6:16-18). In each, the conduct of the
hypocrites (⇒ Matthew 6:2) is contrasted with that
demanded of the disciples. The sayings about reward found here and elsewhere
(⇒ Matthew 5:12, ⇒ 46;
⇒ 10:41-42) show that this is a genuine element of
Christian moral exhortation. Possibly to underline the difference between the
Christian idea of reward and that of the hypocrites, the evangelist uses two
different Greek verbs to express the rewarding of the disciples and that of the
hypocrites; in the latter case it is the verb apecho, a commercial term for
giving a receipt for what has been paid in full (⇒ Matthew
6:2, 5, ⇒ 16).
2  The hypocrites: the scribes and
Pharisees, see ⇒ Matthew 23:13,
⇒ 15, ⇒ 23,
⇒ 25, ⇒ 27,
⇒ 29. The designation reflects an attitude
resulting not only from the controversies at the time of Jesus' ministry but
from the opposition between Pharisaic Judaism and the church of Matthew. They
have received their reward: they desire praise and have received what they were
3 [7-15] Matthew inserts into his basic
traditional material an expansion of the material on prayer that includes the
model prayer, the "Our Father." That prayer is found in
⇒ Luke 11:2-4 in a different context and in a
4  The example of what Christian
prayer should be like contrasts it now not with the prayer of the hypocrites
but with that of the pagans. Their babbling probably means their reciting a
long list of divine names, hoping that one of them will force a response from
5 [9-13] Matthew's form of the
"Our Father" follows the liturgical tradition of his church. Luke's
less developed form also represents the liturgical tradition known to him, but
it is probably closer than Matthew's to the original words of Jesus.
6  Our Father in heaven: this
invocation is found in many rabbinic prayers of the post-New Testament period.
Hallowed be your name: though the "hallowing" of the divine name
could be understood as reverence done to God by human praise and by obedience
to his will, this is more probably a petition that God hallow his own name,
i.e., that he manifest his glory by an act of power (cf
⇒ Ezekiel 36:23), in this case, by the
establishment of his kingdom in its fullness.
7  Your kingdom come: this
petition sets the tone of the prayer, and inclines the balance toward divine
rather than human action in the petitions that immediately precede and follow
it. Your will be done, on earth as in heaven: a petition that the divine
purpose to establish the kingdom, a purpose present now in heaven, be executed
8  Give us today our daily bread:
the rare Greek word epiousios, here daily, occurs in the New Testament only
here and in ⇒ Luke 11:3. A single occurrence of the
word outside of these texts and of literature dependent on them has been
claimed, but the claim is highly doubtful. The word may mean daily or
"future" (other meanings have also been proposed). The latter would
conform better to the eschatological tone of the whole prayer. So understood,
the petition would be for a speedy coming of the kingdom (today), which is
often portrayed in both the Old Testament and the New under the image of a
feast (⇒ Isaiah 25:6; ⇒ Matthew
8:11; ⇒ 22:1-10; ⇒ Luke
13:29; ⇒ 14:15-24).
9  Forgive us our debts: the word
debts is used metaphorically of sins, "debts" owed to God (see
⇒ Luke 11:4). The request is probably for
forgiveness at the final judgment.
10  Jewish apocalyptic writings
speak of a period of severe trial before the end of the age, sometimes called
the "messianic woes." This petition asks that the disciples be spared
that final test.
11 [14-15] These verses reflect a set
pattern called "Principles of Holy Law." Human action now will be met
by a corresponding action of God at the final judgment.
12  The only fast prescribed in
the Mosaic law was that of the Day of Atonement (⇒ Lev
16:31), but the practice of regular fasting was common in later
Judaism; cf Didache ⇒ Matthew 9:1.
13 [19-34] The remaining material of
this chapter is taken almost entirely from Q. It deals principally with worldly
possessions, and the controlling thought is summed up in
⇒ Matthew 6:24, the disciple can serve only one
master and must choose between God and wealth (mammon). See further the note on
⇒ Luke 16:9.
14 [22-23] In this context the parable
probably points to the need for the disciple to be enlightened by Jesus'
teaching on the transitory nature of earthly riches.
15  Mammon: an Aramaic word
meaning wealth or property.
16 [25-34] Jesus does not deny the
reality of human needs (⇒ Matthew 6:32), but forbids
making them the object of anxious care and, in effect, becoming their slave.
17  Life-span: the Greek word can
also mean "stature." If it is taken in that sense, the word here
translated moment (literally, "cubit") must be translated literally
as a unit not of time but of spatial measure. The cubit is about eighteen
18  Of little faith: except for
the parallel in ⇒ Luke 12:28, the word translated
of little faith is found in the New Testament only in Matthew. It is used by
him of those who are disciples of Jesus but whose faith in him is not as deep
as it should be (see ⇒ Matthew 8:26;
⇒ 14:31; ⇒ 16:8 and the cognate
noun in ⇒ Matthew 17:20).
19  Righteousness: see the note on
⇒ Matthew 3:14-15.
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