The fasting the Lord seeks

In today’s first reading from Isaiah, we hear clearly what fasting should and should not be about. Lent1

Sometimes we can get so caught up with the outward appearances of certain pious activities that we fall short of what the Lord is calling us to do and become during Lent.  It doesn’t mean that wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday or not eating meat on Fridays in Lent (and other acts of penance) are not good practices.  They are, but if we do these things grudgingly or if we do not see the deeper meaning behind them and allow for the movement of the Holy Spirit through these acts of penance to create within us something new, something more authentic, then we will not experience the joy and the holiness that comes  through God’s transforming grace.

As we stand at the entrance of this Lent, let’s reflect on these words from Isaiah regarding the fasting the Lord seeks from us and how we might have them come to be in our circle of influence:

…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.

~Isaiah 58: 6-7

Blessings on your Lenten journey.  May each of us find it to be a time of tremendous grace and transformation!

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