Friday after Ash Wednesday
February 19, 2010
Matthew 9: 14-15
The Gospel for this Lenten Mass comes to us from Saint Matthew and is that portion concerned with the question of fasting.
This particular test is timely in view of the fact that the Church has just entered the Lenten Season in which the practice of fasting has such a prominent part.
In our time there is a renewed interest in fasting quite unrelated to Lenten penance. Today many people fast for medical or cosmetic reasons. Nevertheless, fasting as a practice of atonement and reparation for sin retains its original purpose and efficacy.
We live in a culture and society in which virtually anything we want is available to us. This situation often leads to our having more than we need. From time to time, it is necessary to step back and realize that we must reduce our consumption and use, not only of food and beverages, but also of various consumer products which may be good in themselves but distract us from what is essential to personal and common good.
With assistance from the Holy Spirit, we must once again follow the advice of Christianity and learn to read the “signs of the times.”
In doing so, we will understand that it is necessary to extend fasting beyond just food and beverages to now include a “fast” from and a moderation in our use of certain consumer products. A personal and hones examination of conscience will help each one of us to determine the choices which should be made in this regard.
May the evangelical simplicity lived by Christianity in the Gospel encourage us in this effort.