Pray in secret (Mt 6:6-6:6)

“But when you pray,

Go into your room!

Shut the door!

Pray to your Father,

Who is in secret.

Your Father,

Who sees in secret

Will reward you.”

 

σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ, εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου πρόσευξαι τῷ Πατρί σου τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ· καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἀποδώσει σοι.

 

This is another saying of Jesus, only found in Matthew, that carries on with the theme of secrecy, but this time it is about prayer.  When the followers of Jesus were to pray (σὺ δὲ ὅταν προσεύχῃ), they should go into their room (εἴσελθε εἰς τὸ ταμεῖόν σου) and shut the door (καὶ κλείσας τὴν θύραν σου).  They were to pray to their Father (πρόσευξαι τῷ Πατρί σου) in secret (ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Like in the almsgiving, their Father would be able to see them in secret (καὶ ὁ Πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ).  Thus, he would also reward them (ἀποδώσει σοι), so that their reward would be in heaven, not here.  Why all this secrecy?  Were they afraid of being persecuted for something?

The stranger (Sir 29:25-29:28)

“You will play the host.

You will provide drink

Without being thanked. Besides this

You will hear rude words. ‘Come here!

Stranger!

Prepare the table! Let me eat

What you have there!

Be off!

Stranger!

An honored guest is here!

My brother has come

For a visit!

I need the guest–room!’ It is hard

For a sensible person

To bear.

There is the scolding

About lodging.

There is the reproach

Of the moneylender.”

If you are a stranger in someone else’s house, you will have to play the part of a host and bartender without being thanked. People will speak rude words about you, since you are the stranger. This is somewhat reminiscent of Albert Camus and his 1942 work about the “Stranger.” You will be accepted for what you do, but at the same time you will not be really truly accepted for who you are.  You will not fully fit in.  You, the stranger, will be asked to be a waiter, almost like a servant. You will be moved around, depending on who is coming to the house. You many actually lose your room because a relative might come for a visit. These are some of the difficulties for the lodger staying in a strange house. You will be scolded about your renting as well as receive the criticism of the moneylenders.