Every religion has its own dogmas, rules, liturgies, religious
practices etc. Judaism also had its own pious practices.
The three main pious practices of Judaism, at the time
of Jesus, were prayer, fasting and alms-giving.
Interestingly these three are based on relationships.
Fasting stands for one’s relationship within himself/herself.
Alms-giving represents one’s relationship with the other.
Prayer speaks for one’s relationship with God.
Hence, these practices are mainly to build relationships.
They are not actions for any other profits or motives.
And these practices are also not for a show.
They are not for rewards or applause from the viewers.
They are solely to build relationship.
At the end of the season of lent if one comes out with a
better relationship with God, with the other, and with
oneself then we can say that, the individual has
practiced the religion well.
This is what prophet Micah 6, 8 says. Israelites believed
that this verse gives the summary of the Old Testament.
Even if the whole of the Old Testament were to be lost,
then this verse could be a source of re-writing the bible.
"O man, he has told you what is good, and what does the
Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness
and to walk humbly with your God?"
This verse also speaks of the three relationships.
Probably Jesus had this verse at the back of
his mind when he spoke of the religious practices.
Every religious practice is to build the right relationship:
with God, with the other and with oneself.