Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday After Ash Wednesday

FIRST READING (Isaiah 58:1-9a)
"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God. `Why have we fasted, and thou seest it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and thou takest no knowledge of it?'

"Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am."

GOSPEL (Matthew 9:14-15)
The disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to 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."

I remember the year I decided (after a long discernment process) that I was going to “give up” macaroni and cheese for Lent. I was very confident with my choice. I reasoned that giving up my “favourite food in the world” had to be pleasing to God! Shortly after I made this difficult decision, my fifth grade friends and I were standing on the elementary school playground of the Catholic grade school where we attended . . . Click HERE to keep reading the reflection.

We beseech thee, O Lord,
to further with thy gracious favour
the fast, which we have here begun:
that we, who with our bodies therein do thee outward worship,
may inwardly perform the same in singleness of heart.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I have been wondering if my decisions about Lenten 'sacrifice' are suitable and you have answered it perfectly. I know exactly what destructive behaviour I've been engaged in that I need to 'give up'.

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