Ash Wednesday Lent – Cycle A

by Sr. Juliemarie Mcdonald, SND. on 03/01/2017

in Lent

March 1, 2017 – Ash Wednesday

Lent – Cycle A

What does the Prophet Isaiah proclaim about fasting? “Thus says God…This, rather, is the fasting 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. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound will be quickly healed; Your vindication shall go before you and the glory shall be your rear guard. Then you  shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!” Is 58:6-9)

One clearly sees God considers fasting goes far beyond refraining from food, candy, sodas and meat! This does not mean to say we should stay away from this kind of fast. After his baptism, Jesus went into the desert and fasted for forty days. Satan tempted him to eat for he knew Jesus would be hungry. It is a good practice to deprive ourselves of food. This puts us in solidarity with the millions of third world people who go to bed hungry each night

Besides his own example of fasting, Jesus warns his disciples and us to “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people will see them…When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.” (Mt 6:1,16a) God is very much aware of our righteous deeds.

Caryll Houselander has a very practical solution to yearly Lenten resolutions. Keep it simple. When we start digging around trying to root out our sins and failures, unfortunately we concentrate too much on ourselves. Houselander did find a solution.  His one resolution was  this: “Whenever I want to think of myself, I will think of God.” (Magni/cat, Vol. 14, No.12) Let’s say we are tired. Rather than thinking of ourselves, picture Jesus sitting at the well, feet hurting, parched tongue and thirsting for water. Maybe you have had an “I’ve had it day!” or as we say in America, “I’m throwing in the towel!” Think of Jesus’ days of ministry especially with the disciples, who often didn’t get what Jesus was trying to teach them. Someone may hurt you with harsh words, think of Jesus when the crowd cried out “Crucify him, crucify him.”

I personally have failed so many times to carry out my plans of fasting, alms giving and works of charity, that I am willing to try his method of a Lenten resolution. Will you join me?

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment