Greetings on this the Friday after Ash Wednesday
Readings: Is 58:1-9a; PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19; Mt 9:14-15
Note: Today we abstain from eating meat, a luxury and an expense. Instead give a small offering for the poor among us. Saint Vincent de Paul had this to say about Charity:
You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them.
It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.”
In our first reading today we are treated to a dialog.
God calls us to fast.
We do something that simulates a fast.
We immediately want rewards.
Your fast day? you carry out your own pursuits.
Your fast day? you drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast… ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw.
God instructs for us to do a real fast…
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 says the Lord… you will be healed yourself and ask for anything and you will be heard.
The challenge to Jesus was why do your disciples not fast like the rest of us?
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”
We fast because we await the Lord’s return. We fast like as Isaiah how we should fast, heart turned toward the Lord and each other. Today’s fast isn’t of food but of doing service to those in need.
Otherwise, it is not so fast.
Peace be with you,