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Browsing Reflections Archive

February 19, 2021

Daily Reflection for Friday February 19, 2021
 
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/021921.cfm

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9
Responsorial : Psalms 51:3-6, 18-19
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15

Our reflection on Friday’s reading:
“Is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”  Isaiah 58:5

This is an appropriate scripture for the first Friday after Ash Wednesday.  It challenges me to examine my motives for fasting.  Am I fasting to demonstrate my faithfulness to others?  Am I fasting because I needed to lose a few pounds anyway?  Is fasting expected of me by my fellow parishioners?  Do I fast just to be able to tell others that “I’m fasting for Lent?”

The prophet Isaiah asks me to consider that all of these “personal or legalistic” notions of fasting mean nothing to the Lord unless they are leading me closer to doing the Lord’s work.  Fasting almost always make me feel better both physically and mentally. But to enumerate a few suggestions from Isaiah 58:6-7, does it bring me closer to:

  •     Releasing those bound unjustly
  •     Setting free the oppressed
  •     Sharing my resources with the hungry, oppressed, and the homeless
  •     Making me a better person

If fasting allows me to see through the fog of my own gluttonous behavior and respond to God’s call for me to do what I am capable of doing to make the world a slightly more tolerable place, then my light will break forth like the dawn.

As we fast this Lent, let’s be mindful of why we are fasting.  Are we checking some imaginary legalistic or social box, or are we letting it be a transformational process that brings us closer to Jesus?  Will it move us to cry out to Jesus to transform our lives and allow us to hear his gentle instructions to go forth and proclaim that Jesus is real through our actions?

May your fasting move you to a deeper understanding of your relationship with Jesus and how that relationship should be shown to the world.

Paul Gunn

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