February 20, 2015
(Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto)
Thus says the Lord GOD:
“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;” Is 58:1-9a
Ever wonder why they call it “fasting,” when, if you actually do it, time seems to slow down to a standstill, as you anxiously await the next time you can eat! Imagine not even knowing when that “next time” might be. And whenever it does come, it will never be enough food to satisfy you anyway.
You see, beloved, fasting is so, so very much more than just losing a little weight or following an old church tradition. Fasting is becoming “ONE” with those who don’t have the choice. Fasting is coming to the realization that we really DO have the ability to help those in greater need than us. Fasting is putting aside all of our own little gripes: the minor pains, to help those with great ones; the inconveniences, to help those with life and death needs.
From our readings today, it doesn’t sound like God really cares about our sackcloth and ashes. But He does care about how we treat our own brothers and sisters. And especially those in need. It might be as simple as a smile to someone lonely, or as difficult as giving up a meal for someone who has no food. But whatever we do, and however we live, we are called to do it in union with God and with our neighbor. And when we do, then we’ll truly see how fast fasting can be!
God’s blessings and love, forever!
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