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Lenten Fasting

One of the common practices associated with Lent is fasting.  The readings of the Friday after Ash Wednesday speak of fasting.  The disciples of John come to Jesus and ask why his disciples were not fasting.  He replies that the bridegroom is with them so it is not the time for fasting.  His disciples will fast when the bridegroom is gone.  Jesus is the bridegroom.  Jesus is the Messiah and while he was with his disciples it was not the time for fasting but for joy.

Why do we fast?  In the past, fasting was commonly associated with punishment.  Sinners must be punished with a penance like fasting.

Fasting is not just a punishment.  Fasting is to bring us closer to God.  Fasting is most commonly thought of in terms of food but we could fast from anything that we like.  In fasting, we give up something of this world to seek the gifts that Jesus offers us.  In fasting, we realize that there are things more important (God) than earthly things.

Fasting can also enable us to help others.  In fasting, we don’t use so much ourselves and so perhaps we can give give that “extra” to someone in need.  Or perhaps you have given something like a couple of hours of TV a week.  You can volunteer the time that you would have spent watching TV.

The Lenten practice of fasting is not just punishment.  It is meant to help us be better Christians.  What could you give up that would help you be a better person?


Fr. Jeff

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