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. (Is 58:6-7)
We can be rather legalistic when it comes to the way we approach our faith. Just because we observe the requirements of our faith, we think all is well.
Isaiah addressed that when he told the people that they were not doing what the Lord wanted on their days of fast. Oh, sure, they were fasting. However, they were also using other people, treating others with contempt, and, generally, not living as God’s people.
We should not fool ourselves.
We might be satisfying the requirements of Lent. We might fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We might abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent. We might be saying extra prayers each day. However, in the midst of all of that, we might not be mindful of the poor, the needy, the downtrodden. We might have malice in our hearts for others. We might be unforgiving. We might be unrepentant. In short, we might be farther from God than we have ever been.
We cannot call that a “successful” Lent.
We must accomplish the kind of “fasting” that God wishes: caring for others and providing for their many needs.
FAITH ACTION: Review your Lenten resolutions and make sure that you are doing them for the right reasons. Also, you might want to give God some extra time today by coming to Stations of the Cross. At St. Thomas More, they are in the church at 2:15 p.m. (with our school students) or 7:00 p.m.
The Fridays of Lent are Days of Abstinence