Isaiah speaks to the people this reality check, "Lo on your fast days you carry out your own pursuits and drive all your laborers."
For many of us the constant onslaught of errands and duties may pile up until they become a wall that separates us from God. We do not consciously turn away from God, but instead we slowly drift way like ships without rudders, with no particular aim in mind.
We just let the business of the day, the business as usually, slowly tear us away. Our own pursuits become that which drives the wedge.
In Lent we are called to make a deliberate turn.
The invitation to fasting, to hunger, acts as the rudder that directs bak to God. It sharpens our instinct, sharpens our awareness; the hunger pains that follow give us that reality check that is so necessary. The hunger awakens us from our slumber and brings to light the meaning of it all.
Fasting is essential. It helps us identify the deepest longing in our life and allow that longing to sharpen our ability to live with meaning and purpose.