I'm still pregnant. No baby yet. Its an exciting world we are living in. I had a nice massage today. I also made a bunch of Dal Bhat, which are a type of Lentils from Nepal. They were yummy. What follows is a nice reflection on "giving things up for Lent." I don't think things like this are said enough, so I am copying and pasting from an email I'm getting during the Lenten Season.
Is 58: 1-9a; Matt. 9: 14-15
What a privilege is ours, that God allows us to share in the work of redeeming the world; what an honor, that God uses our living hands to heal, our voices to comfort, our arms to strengthen and uphold the ones often forgotten or lost at the margins of our society. And as we reach out our hands each day to the hungry, the homeless, the despairing, we ourselves are transformed, becoming in word and in deed what we claim to be: the healing, comforting, living Body of Christ. And so as the season begins I often hear "What did you give up for Lent? Chocolate? Beer? Eating between meals?" These are probable questions in the air during this five-week season, especially when surrounded by the young people, and sometimes the not so young. Some have thought that the underlying motivation behind this question suggests that a deep expectation of fasting or abstaining from something enjoyable helps us remember why this season of starkness exists. The people in Isaiah's time fasted and hoped their sacrifices would bring them access to God. Why fast? This is the question asked in today's scripture and it is a relevant question today. Should one fast because the voice of one's parents is remembered? Should one fast to remind and be reminded of strong religious practices? Should one fast to allow the pangs of what was given up to serve as a reminder of those in the world who are not as fortunate?
Isaiah appears to answer these questions. There is nothing wrong with fasting. In fact, this practice has an appropriate time and place. Many believers and non-believers are writing on the topic today. Hopefully this is a starting place for all. If the pangs of what was given up help the image of those who are not as fortunate to come to mind, then what are we to do with that image? The passage from Isaiah suggests we act on it by releasing those who are imprisoned and oppressed, feeding and sheltering the hungry and homeless, and clothing those who are naked. The suggestion is action. Simply remembering these people without an action to mend the division keeps the division alive and well. Jesus takes us one step further in today's Gospel. We are challenged to look at fasting in a completely different way. As others observe the rules of fasting, Jesus is not concerned about the social protocols. Jesus is fasting with his actions. What he chooses to do is fast from actions that separate him from the ones who suffer and are not as fortunate. What about us? What actions pull our attention away from those accounted as of little importance in our society and in lives? How can we fast with our actions? These questions are so much more important than whether we eat chocolate or not!fr.
Dave Caron, OP