February 16, 2018

Feb. 16

February 16, 2018:  Friday after Ash Wednesday

  • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  Clothe the naked (1st reading)
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "Lift up your voice like a trumpet blast" (1st reading)
  • 'Lights' tie:  When you fast like God wants, your light shall break forth (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  You'll call and the Lord will answer (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "Have mercy on me..." (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  You won't spurn a contrite heart (psalm)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "Should I offer a burnt offering, you wouldn't accept it"  (psalm)
  • Blue shirt:  Wash me from my guilt (psalm)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season
Listen
For 1st reading
For Psalm 51, see Ash Wednesday


Pope Francis
Homily:  True fasting releases those bound unjustly, frees the oppressed, and breaks yokes.  Even if you can't fast to the point of feeling hungry in your bones, you can still fast humbly and consistently.  Fasting is like stripping yourself of pride.  To thank God while despising your laborers is inconsistent and unchristian.  You can't talk to God on the one hand and the devil on the other.  Don't make a fuss of your fasting and pretend to be virtuous so people will think you're a good person.  Pretend, but with a smile; don't show others you're doing penance.  Help others, but always with a smile.
Fasting lowers yourself by reflecting on your sins and asking God's forgiveness.  How ashamed I'd be if my sin became common knowledge.  If you have domestic workers, do you treat them fairly, as people, recognize their dignity, and pay them justly?  Do penance, feel some hunger, pray more, and ask yourself how you behave towards others.  If my fast doesn't help others, it's fake and takes you on the path to a double life, pretending to be Christian.  Ask for the grace of consistency.
At Maronite College:  Imitate St. Maron's faith and love, pure sources for today’s spiritually thirsty people.  Don't be absorbed by the culture of the provisional and appearance.  Your study here is an opportunity to absorb antibodies against worldliness and mediocrity.  This time of suffering and danger is also full of hope.  The people to be entrusted to you, disoriented by the instability of the Middle East, will look to you for consolation.  Work to ensure your country is a light for the peoples of the region and a sign of peace that comes from God.  And accompany young people with trust and patience; they're the promise of the future, your most serious investment.
Read
  • Is 58:1-9a  On your fast day you quarrel and carry out your own pursuits, but the fast I want is releasing those bound unjustly, freeing the oppressed, sharing your bread, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and caring for your own.  Then you'll have light, healing, and vindication, and God will answer you.
  • Ps 51:3-6ab, 18-19  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  Have mercy on me.
  • Mt 9:14-15  John's disciples / Jesus:  “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but not your disciples?” / “Wedding guests can't mourn while the groom is among them, but when he's taken away, they'll fast.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we can abandon distractions that keep us from serving God.  Today's 1st reading challenges us to look at our fasting.  We can't get closer to God just by going through the motions.  God asks us to fast to free the oppressed, share bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked, and not turn our back on any of God’s children.  Caring for God's struggling children will help me reorder my life to God.  God doesn't ask me to do it all, or perfectly, but to step out of my comfort zone, jettison distractions, and turn toward God’s children with a humble, contrite heart.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Love feast, love fast":  Jesus, like his fellow Jews, associated fasting with mourning, but in today's gospel he implies that fasting in his kingdom is not only precipitated by the sorrow of sin but also communion with him and the Church; we fast not only to avoid sin but also to move from the earthly wedding banquet to the heavenly one.  May we fast in love for Jesus, the Bridegroom, to grasp the extent of Christ's love, experiencing it surpassing all knowledge, and attain to God's fullness.
  • Passionist:  I need to pay attention to God's presence in the people who cross my path.  My fasting this Lent is a discipline of re-calling, re-covering, re-collecting, re-storing and reconciling, surrendering my priorities to be present to the other.  St. Francis was particularly concerned for creation, the poor, and outcasts. The bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and inner peace is inseparable (Laudato Si, 10).  I want to establish a discipline to alleviate overconsumption that distances me from Christ.

  • DailyScripture.net:  "Fasting for God's kingdom":  Hunger for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand.  The Lord's disciples must bear the cross of affliction and purification; there's a time for rejoicing in the Lord's presence and goodness and a time for seeking him with humility, fasting, and mourning for sin.  May we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our life with God's power and grace.  Fasting can be done to gain freedom from a bad habit, share in others' suffering, or grow in hunger for God and things of heaven.  "Don't just abstain from meat. True fasting is refraining from vice.  Shred your unjust contracts.  Pardon your neighbors...." (Basil the Great).