St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 6th February 2011
Why anyone should be thinking about fasting when we have just come into Ordinary Time or 5th Sunday before Lent, I do not know. May be for some of us, our New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym or take up some kind of sporting activities to counter excess indulgence, over the festive period have gone by the wayside. So see Lent as an opportune time to do something about it, fast, give up something or take up something.
Fasting, if our health permits, have many benefits to our spiritual and physical well being. It is a spiritual discipline for growth and getting closer to God. On a physical level the benefits are numerous, for instance, it is a valid experience for people whose calories have taken the upper hand in their lives. It is a safe method for detoxifying the body; it even slows down the ageing process. It is a belief that the one who truly fast will abstain from gossip, idle talk, rage and anger and many more things.
Our Old Testament reading in Isaiah 58 – says true worship and relationship with God is more than fasting. For this reason, true fasting is more than what we do not eat, it is pleasing God by showing compassion to the poor, the helpless and the oppressed in our society.
Isaiah says the kind of fast the Lord requires from us is:
To loose the bonds of injustice,
To undo the thongs of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free,
And to break every yoke……………….Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
The mere fact…… is we can do both, see Lent as a time to get trim, get closer to God and reach out to others.