Thursday, March 02, 2006
Friday after Ash Wednesday
March 3, 2006
Friday after Ash Wednesday - Yr II
Thus says the Lord GOD: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up
your voice like a trumpet blast; Tell my people their wickedness, and
the house of Jacob their sins. They seek me day after day, and desire
to know my ways, Like a nation that has done what is just and not
abandoned the law of their God; They ask me to declare what is due
them, pleased to gain access to God. "Why do we fast, and you do not
see it? afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?" Lo, on your
fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked
claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on
high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of
penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and
ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This,
rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking
every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the
oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and
not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth
like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication
shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear
guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for
help, and he will say: Here I am!
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the
Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?" 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."
Today's very brief Gospel tells us that there is a reason for fasting.
Jesus uses the image of the wedding banquet, which in their culture
lasts for a whole week! There is feasting and merrymaking for a week or
for as long as the newly married couple is with them. Jesus likens
himself to the groom and his disciples to the wedding guests. There was
joy for as long as they were still around, but fasting begins when the
newlyweds have left. Lent is the time for us to fast because we recall
the way Jesus was taken away from us, and we await his future rising
and coming again.
In our time, fasting has gained a wider meaning. Fasting from food is
required of us only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and even then
many Catholics do not observe it. It is very difficult to promote
self-denial in a consumer society that encourages consumption, vanity,
and pleasure-seeking. Why do we have to fast? There can be a variety of
reasons: to gain freedom from the grip of our bad habits or vices, to
be in solidarity with those who are suffering, or to create a space
within ourselves for more spiritual things. In other words, to
concretely experience our need and hunger for God.
We do not make things difficult for ourselves for our own sake.
Whatever form of fasting we choose, we must do it with joy, or else it
is pointless. The prophet Isaiah admonishes those who fast only to
fight and quarrel with one another. Further, fasting must be done with
a higher value in mind. Each Lent, we are invited to purify ourselves
and emerge as better Christians on Easter Sunday. So, what kind of
fasting will you observe this Lent?
We pray -
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the spiritual and physical healing of Julie Gibson.
- for the personal intentions and thanksgiving of Rikit Navarro.
- for the personal intentions of Peter.
- for the eternal repose of the soul of Agripina Franco Marcelino.
Eternal rest grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her.
May she and all the souls of the dearly departed rest in peace.
- for the spiritual and physical healing of Beth.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Angela Villate Y Ibarra
- Wedding Anniversary: Serge & Ruby Lim
- In Memoriam (+): Benito S. Cua (Nov. 5, 1935 - Mar. 2, 2002)
- for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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