4th MARCH 2022

True Fasting that pleases God - Isaiah 58 - YouTube

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY

 

Is 58: 1-9;                   Ps 51: 3-6, 18-19;                   Mt 9: 14-15


   

A FASTING THAT PLEASES GOD

Every Friday in Lent is a day of abstinence from meat. It is a time to embrace this little sacrifice today in union with our entire Church. The most important thing to understand about Fridays in Lent is that they should be a day of sacrifice. Jesus offered the ultimate sacrifice on a Friday for the atonement of our sins. The Jews in Jesus’ time already had a tradition of fasting. It was done as repentance for sins.

It was done as a way of showing their trust in God. When the people of Israel were surrounded by an enemy and were afraid, they fasted to ask God for grace or for victory in battle against the enemy. It was also done when someone desired to know the will of God, and was praying to be shown the right direction.

In today’s Gospel, John’s disciples are trying to understand Jesus and who he is, and ask him why he and his disciples do not follow the traditional fasting that the Pharisees and all the other Jewish leaders followed. Jesus uses this opportunity to give them a glimpse into who he is. He is the bridegroom and he is to be married to his Church by offering himself up for it. He also points to his death, that he will be taken away from them, and then there will be a time to fast. But for now, while he walks with his people, he brings with him the celebration and the joy of the wedding feast. There is a time for celebration and a time for fasting and we need to do both appropriately.

We are also told in the first reading that just the act of fasting, without a real transformation of the heart, does not please God. God desires for us to be transformed and to return to a state of peace with him and with one another. Our fasting only makes us more alert and attuned to the Holy Spirit who can bring about that transformation in us. This Lent, let our fasting be a sweet aroma to the Lord as we allow him to transform us.


Response: A broken and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn.


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