Homily for Friday after Ash Wednesday (1)

Homily for Friday after Ash Wednesday

Theme: Fasting and Charity

By: Fr. Gerald M. Musa

Homily for Friday March 4 2022


A friend asked me, “Why don’t you prescribe a more rigorous and drier fast during the season of Lent?” I answered, “Whenever I overemphasise fasting and abstinence, I stand the risk of downplaying other equally important cardinal pillars of lent such as charity and prayer. All of these go hand in hand.” The disciples of John asked Jesus, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus summarily answered, there is time for everything – a time for fasting and a time for feasting. Some of our pious practices are merely outward and empty rituals because we do not link these practices to their purpose and intention. In as much as fasting, abstinence, austerity, asceticism, and severity are important, they can be meaningless unless they bring our minds and hearts closer to God and motivate us towards good works. The prophet Isaiah gives a comprehensive meaning of fasting and explains the fasting that pleases God. He says fasting is not just depriving ourselves of food and water, but also giving up wickedness, sin, insensitivity, and selfishness. The prophet Isaiah tells us fasting and abstinence are only fruitful and valid when they are accompanied by repentance and mercy: losing the bonds of wickedness, setting the oppressed free, sharing bread with the hungry, giving shelter to the poor, clothing the naked (Isaiah 58:6-7). Can we think more deeply about our pious practices and discover the reasons for these spiritual exercises?

Isaiah 58:1 -9 a; Matthew 9:14 -15; Friday after Ash Wednesday

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