19 February 2021

Reading and meditation on the Word of God on the Friday after Ash Wednesday, February 19, 2021

The fasting that I wish is releasing those bound unjustly. Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Friday after Ash Wednesday, February 19, 2021. Reading is delivered by Paul Banan and meditation is delivered by Wenchie Thomas (from Saint Peter’s School in Jakarta, Indonesia). Isaiah 58: 1-9a; Rs psalm 51: 3-4.5-6a.18-19; Matthew 9: 14-15.


Our meditation today has the theme: Fasting Needs Prayer and Charity. The three elements of Lenten spirituality that we have been reflecting upon so far are not independent from each other. Prayer is not an act that has nothing to do with fasting and charity. It’s also with fasting and charity. One spiritual practice requires the other two in order to make a person a true believer and consecrated before God and surely become a role model for others.

Our today’s reflection wants to bring our attention to the fasting that we do through acts of charity and our prayers. In every act of love, a person practices his fasting. Likewise, in the occasion of prayer, a person refills and strengthens his fasting. Both of our readings today illuminate us about fasting that needs prayer and charity.

The book of the prophet Isaiah affirms that every act of fasting which is  related to the living together among our fellow men and women and according to the will of God, is to release those bound unjustly and severely by evil. All forms of oppression and injustices must be eliminated. The actions or behaviors that deceive and cause trouble to others must be stopped. The hungry and thirsty people should be given the satisfaction of their bodies. Those homeless people are protected. Those who do not have clothes are given necessary clothes.

Everything that had been said by the prophet said was then made so concrete by Jesus who carried out the mission of the heavenly Father and His apostles took part actively to support this mission. There were also so many disciples who followed and accompanied Him wherever He went and in every opportunity He was. Living with the Lord Jesus is the same as seeing Him, talking with Him, listening to Him, touching Him, confessing Him, trusting Him, and being with Him forever and ever. These are the important elements that constitute an act and condition of prayer. The one who prays is the one who is with the Lord with his or her whole soul and body.

Therefore, Jesus makes it clear to us that true and real fasting is to do this religious discipline with and in the Lord, when His active presence indeed animates our entire lives. If God makes Himself available to be with us, then why do some men and women create their own ways to fast as if the Lord has nothing to do with them? We are not supposed to offer our fasting to anyone else like the one of the Pharisees and scribes, even though Jesus Christ was actually in their midst. Our fasting is precisely what Jesus Christ had taught us, which is to be in the Lord as we do charity on behalf of Him and we are constantly in connection with Him in all times through our words and deeds.

Let’s pray. In the name of the Father … Almighty God, grant us the ability to fulfill the discipline Lent that may bring us to the point where Your Son Jesus Christ wanted us to be. Hail Mary full of grace … In the name of the Father …

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