Daily Reflection for Friday, March 04 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9a
Responsorial: Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 19-19
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” Matthew 9:14.
As this is the first Friday after Ash Wednesday, the question about fasting arises many times. Studying and reading the section in my CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) Bible, I noticed that this verse is in under the heading entitled “The Question About Fasting.”
As I (Dorothy) reflect back to my days of being a high school educator, I can remember answering many students’ questions. Their curiosities of ashes being on my forehead and my avoiding snacks and diet Cokes (my addiction to four or five each day) caused me to have to answer my students’ many “whys.” They would ask, “Why can’t you eat meat on Fridays?” “Why are you not eating between meals?” “Why are wearing a purple sweater?” “Why are Fridays days of fasting?” “Why does fasting help you?”
So why do we fast and how do we benefit from fasting?
Without making a reference to the Church, I explained to my students my desire to be disciplined and obedient—two words they knew and understood well. I told them of how I would pass up Burger King and McDonalds on my to-and-from school route, thus allowing $2.10 daily to be placed in my tin heart-shaped coin holder. The collected coins ($84) would then be placed in the special boxes designated for charity. To me, this was beneficial in four ways—a great spiritual experience, a way of sharing these experiences with my students, a way of drawing near to God by helping others, and a way to give up diet Cokes to show complete reliance on God. (Giving up diet Cokes is very hard.)
Does fasting cause us to be obedient and disciplined?
To us, fasting is both a spiritual and religious discipline. Fasting is a true dedication to God. Fasting accompanied by praying, meditating, and reading the Bible is a wonderful way to become more spiritually disciplined. Being still in His word is a great way to develop this discipline during this Lenten season.
Dear God, may we all truly understand our reason for fasting throughout the 40 day of Lent. May we remember the words of Pope Francis: “Do you want to fast this Lent? Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience.” In doing this, may we develop closeness to God and be still so as to feel His presence.
Blessings to all,
Dorothy and Carlos Alexander