Friday after Ash Wednesday
The readings for the day can be found here.
As we begin this Lenten season, Christ in today’s reading reminds us to be ever vigilant regarding the way in which we approach fasting. Often times in Lent, we fall into routine. We get caught up in day to day challenges and confinement of habit and lose sight of the opportunity for joy that Lent provides.
In the First Reading, Isaiah poses a very pertinent question, “Why do we fast and you do not see it?” Our fasting during Lent was not intended to be burdensome or exhausting. But rather, Christ made it clear to John, and the other disciples, that the time he was with them was to be filled with joy and rejoicing. In the Gospel, Jesus is asked why the disciples do not fast. He answered the questions with the example of fasting at a wedding, which would be simply unsuitable. A wedding is a time of celebration, not a time of mourning, abstaining or weeping. Christ conveyed to his disciples that there will be a time when he will no longer be with them, in which case fasting will be more appropriate. We as people of faith can learn from His words by using this Lenten season as a period for great spiritual growth and blessing. Lent is not solely a time of sacrificing, repentance and preparation for the death and Resurrection of Our Lord. It is, more importantly, a time in which we can experience joy in the freest sense. Christ instructs us to be happy! “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” Our hearts must be open and detached from the easy way of living, from the routine of life. Isaiah points out that “sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless” are ways in which we can “fast” for the Lord. Although we may not always be able to literally share bread with the hungry or shelter the homeless, this can remind us that while although giving up our favorite food or skipping a meal is courageous, it is nothing if we do not do so with joy! This Lenten season, exercise your soul in rejoicing that Our Lord is with us!