1. Jesus does not attack the practices of public piety but the aberrant or weird style of those who make acts of personal piety namely almsgiving, prayer & fasting.
2. Jesus’ followers are to avoid public displays of private piety. He was not condemning the righteous acts themselves but motivations behind the actions.
3. In Classical Greek the word hypocrite referred to an actor on stage wearing a mask.
4. Jesus was not forbidding public prayer (Mt 14:19, 15:36, Acts 1:24, 3:1) but the one who prays only in public and never in private is praying for wrong reasons.
5. Prayer is not for the purpose of informing God but expresses to him the fact of our impotence to meet our own needs.
All of us do want recognition, appreciation and acknowledgment. It is truly a human need but we should not make use of prayer moments to achieve this end and thus project ourselves as self-righteous people. There might be many who in spite of their hard work, sincerity and generosity would not get any recognition from their own people or from the society at large. Today’s Gospel promises them a true recognition that comes from the heavenly Father.