40 Shades of Lent by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Friday after Ash Wednesday, 19 February 2021 Isaiah 58:1-9 <*(((>< + ><)))*> Matthew 9:14-15
Today I remember, O Lord, our old days of yore when Fridays were of simple food of all fish and veggies without any meat, of how we were told to remember this day so special because of Good Friday even if it were not the Season of Lent.
Austerity and low key were all over as peg to make your presence, O God, during Lent that the prevailing mood was more of joy than of being somber and serious as most people would think these days of fasting and abstinence as self-inflicted sufferings and pains.
Forgive us this modern age of instants and affluence, fasting has become centered on our very selves, with our “piety” like the Pharisees (Matt.9:14) who questioned Jesus why his disciples did not fast unlike them and the followers of John.
Enlighten us on this first Friday of Lent to realize anew that this is a season of joy and rejoicing because when we fast, we become empty of ourselves, of our filth and sins so we can be filled with your Holy Spirit to become your vessels of justice and love and joy with one another.
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.Isaiah 58:6-7
How lovely and beautiful the world must be if we shall heed your words, fulfill your longing from us in true fasting more focused only in making you present among us who have gone to choose darkness over light.
O God our Father, give us the wisdom and courage to return to you so we can offer ourselves for others to feel you as we await the great rejoicing of Easter, the very joy of Lent. Amen.