Thursday, March 06, 2014
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Friday after Ash Wednesday
[St. Perpetua and St. Felicity]
Is 58: 1-9a / Ps 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19 / Mt 9:14-15
Reading: Is 58: 1-9a
Cry out aloud for all you are worth; raise your voice like a trumpet blast; tell my people of their offenses, Jacob's family of their sins. Is it true that they seek me day after day, longing to know my ways, as a people that does what is right and has not forsaken the word of its God? They want to know the just laws and not to drift away from their God. "Why are we fasting," they complain, "and you do not even see it? We are doing penance and you never notice it." Look, on your fast days you push your trade and you oppress your laborers. Yes, you fast but end up quarreling, striking each other with wicked blows. Fasting as you do will not make your voice heard on high. Is that the kind of fast that pleases me, just a day to humble oneself? Is fasting merely bowing down one's head, and making use of sackcloth and ashes? Would you call that fasting, a day acceptable to Yahweh? See the fast that pleases me: breaking the fetters of injustice and unfastening the thongs of the yoke,
setting the oppressed free and breaking every yoke. Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light will break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of Yahweh your rearguard. Then you will call and Yahweh will answer, you will cry and he will say, I am here.
Gospel: Mt 9:14-15
Then the disciples of John came to him with the question, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not your disciples?" Jesus answered them, "How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast.
Generally speaking fasting is to deprive ourselves of food and drink. Occasion and motives may vary. One may fast out of personal devotion, mourning or ascetism. In the Church, fasting, together with prayer and almsgiving, is one of the expressions of man's humility before God. Christ denounces fasting or any good deeds done out of pride that is " in order to be seen by men." Fasting should be practiced with perfect discretion.
The disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees fasted twice a week as defined by the Law and the prophets which was also one of the elements of justification. However, this practice can become ostentatious, a public show of one's piety. We cannot become justified by our own merit and goodness. Christ insists more on detachment from wealth and self-renunciation because he came to fulfill our justification.
There is yet another reason for fasting, the one Jesus mentions in the Gospel. It is the fasting of the faith, the absence of the bridegroom and the continuous search for him. While waiting for the return of the bridegroom, penitential fasting has its place in Church practice.
Thus to fast can mean not only because we are repentant of our sins but also we want to feel closer to God by the presence of Jesus in our lives. We fast because we love him and we long for his presence.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for families who are in need of healing.
... for personal intentions
... 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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