Isaiah 58:1-9; Ps 51 A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn; Matt 9:14-15
"The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."
These are the words of Jesus in this Friday's gospel passage as we continue our journey of lent.
The bridegroom of course is Jesus himself and he as ascended to heaven though he remains with us his presence is not complete. We are invited to hunger for that full revelation of his glory and his presence.
The word "fast" as in "to fast" simply means to hunger for something. We are asked to hunger physically so that it may mirror our hunger spiritually for the full revelation of Christ.
Many times we focus on the lack of food as a source of hunger and thus we fast from various food items through the season of lent.
But Isaiah gives us another approach, something a little more "meaty" if you do not mind the pun since we are asked to abstain from meat on Friday's.
Hear again the invitation and exhortation of the prophet Isaiah, "This is the fasting I wish, says the LORD, 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."
Now that is serious fasting. Lent is not for wimps. Why should we fast in such a manner.
Isaiah once again spells out the benefits of such behavior, "then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. THen you shall call and the Lord will answer, 'Here I am!'"
How is that for reason. Is it reason enough to get us off our butts. Will we heed the word of the prophet or do what we have always done: give up ice cream or cookies or whatever. Don't be boring this lent.
Shake things up as our Pope reminds us. Be bold! Be Brave! Be real!
Who wouldn't want the glory of God to be our rear guard? Who wouldn't want the wounds to be healed? who wouldn't want light to break forth in our life and the life of those around us?
Don't just fast but be hungry for the glory of God! Hunger for more!