Friday 16 February 2018
14 The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 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.”
HYPOCRITICAL AND REAL FASTING
What is fasting all about? Easy to answer but not easy to do — unless your friends hinted that you have gained some weight and you realize that your dress or pants don’t fit anymore as they did a while ago. In other words, fasting is abstaining from or reducing the intake of food, right?
Wrong! How wrong we can be about so many things we thought to be so clear. And we can easily be wrong because we don’t know our Bible enough, especially not the Old Testament. The great prophet Isaiah teaches us today something quite shocking about fasting.
The prophet thunders against the cheap trickery of people who try to impress God by abstaining from some things but commit the worse injustices against their fellowmen by oppressing them and by not caring for the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the homeless. For it is easier to fast than to love.
As kids, we abstained from eating chocolates and candies during Lent. We collected them and got a bad stomachache during Easter when we began to eat what we had collected during the six weeks of Lent. My father loved smoking cigars; during Lent, he abstained but I did not see him doing any special acts of charity.
Ascetic practices are good in themselves. There is no doubt about this. But ascetic practices without practicing charity at home, in the neighborhood, and among those we meet and live with every day are useless. Better eat chocolates and smoke your cigarettes and go to a movie even during Lent, but abstain from quarreling, cheating in exams, lying, and gossiping. wedding wear options for older and mature brides
Doing something good is better than abstaining. Therefore, your best “fast” would be becoming the most charitable person possible. That’s the “fasting” the disturbing prophet Isaiah teaches us today on the third day of Lent. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
------- REFLECTION QUESTION -------
Who in your family, in your neighborhood, or among the people you live with needs your real “fasting” — your love, concern, and support?
Ouch, Lord! You got me again! You made me realize that some of my exercises of “self-denial” are not pleasing to You at all. Help me to change and serve You with love in the people around me. Amen.