Friday, March 8, 2019
Click here to read today’s readings
I like knowing exactly what is expected of me when someone asks me to do something. Whether it is an assignment in school, a task at work, or a favor for a friend, I want to ensure that I am going to complete the task to the best of my abilities and in a way that is pleasing to others.
In the first reading today, we see the Israelites complaining to God about fasting. They are upset that they have been taking their fasting so seriously and God has not seemed to notice. However, God did notice their fasting – but that isn’t what God wants from them. God would rather the Israelites treat others with love and mercy, rather than hypocritical fasting: ‘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). The Israelites were so concerned with doing exactly what God had told them to do in regards to fasting, but they were neglecting to recognize the ways that they were treating those around them – which is what God truly wants from us.
Like the Israelites, I can often become so caught up in completing my tasks that I become blind to what is happening around me. This Lent, may we not only seek to fulfill the basic criteria of fasting on certain days and giving up something but may we also consider how our prayer and fasting can lead us to serve those in our community and bring us closer to God.
Colleen Quigley, Theology Teacher