Friday after Ash Wednesday : 19th February 2021

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Lord, help me not to focus on laws and traditions but on true needs of ...

Friday after Ash Wednesday : 19th February 2021

Is. 58:1-9; Ps. 50:3-4,5-6,18-19;
Mt. 9:14-15 (Ps Wk IV)

Fasting, almsgiving and prayer are three practices we are used to during Lent.

But all these works of piety can easily preoccupy us to such an extent that we may neglect the more urgent call to “share food with the hungry, bringing home to the homeless and forgetting our own kith and kin”. Many of us think of only denying ourselves of food and nothing else, as a form of fasting! The Pharisees were quite satisfied with doing just that.

But we are warned in the First Reading, by Isaiah that there is a “fast” that is real and desired by God. And such a form of fasting is what Jesus is hinting at when he answers the question of the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees, who fasted more than what was required by the Law of the religion at that time! The presence of Jesus as Messiah was a reason to celebrate for the disciples who had become his followers. How could they be mournful and fast in the Bridegroom’s company?

Do we need to re-think why we fast at all? We cannot just follow customs and traditions as a routine fasting exercise! Our gaze needs to be re-oriented.  Our orientation on “fast” has to be on undoing injustice, breaking the yoke off the necks of the disadvantaged, feeding the hungry and everything to ease another’s burden!

Lord, teach me anew to seek You in those persons around me who cry out to from the depths of their hearts.

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