Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday after Ash Wednesday

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Fasting isn’t about giving up trivial things (chocolate, candy, etc.) or making exterior changes in our lives (exercising more, watching less TV, etc.). Yes, these can be parts of the whole experience, but they need to be grounded in the desire for an interior change that springs from choosing heavenly things over worldly ones. Fasting means acting justly toward others, helping them with their burdens, setting them free from those things that oppress them, breaking the yokes around our neighbor’s necks. It means sharing with, sheltering, and clothing those in need. It is learning to sacrifice yourself for others and never turning your back on them. If we do all these things, then we shall be a light for the whole world showing them the path of love, mercy, and grace that God has prepared for us all. It is not enough to think, say, or do the right thing out of a sense of obligation, we have to do good works because we want to be more like Christ.

What are we fasting from during this Lenten season? How can we interiorize the act of fasting? What can we do to transform ourselves over this time of purification so that we can be more Christ-like year around?

O Lord, give us the grace to fast not only outwardly, but inwardly, too.


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