Friday after Ash Wednesday : 16th February 2024

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Dear Lord, place me with Jesus, assisting Jesus in carrying His cross

Friday after Ash Wednesday : 16th February 2024

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

Fasting is never meant to be a selfish act or gain. The fruit of fasting is that one’s space for God is enlarged in one’s interior life. When a person’s interior life is God-centred, he has more space for compassion, then his regard towards the suffering of others also deepens.

Fasting is a necessary act to communal care. To abstain from food and other pleasures increases our capacity for genuine care, aware that in our relationship with all creation, God is included. It helps us to put religious practice in their relational perspective.

Jesus’ response to the question “why are your disciples not fasting?” addressed the issue of fasting for mere fasting’s sake. Fasting without looking at relationships is deficient. Paul understood this basic sense of relating. “To the weak, I am weak, to the I am able.” (1 Cor 9:22)

Paul’s formula is not a coward’s licence to protect oneself as the chameleon does, but rather immersing in the other’s situation, he supports and encourages others, to clothe the naked, to bring dignity to those who are wrongfully shamed.

Therefore true fasting is not just fulfilling the external rite and obligation, without extended compassionate service to others, it remains a pure selfish gain.

Lord, help us to remain faithful in our duty to abstain from depriving others of joy and sorrow.   

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