< <  

Friday, September 3, 2004

  > >

Pope St. Gregory the Great

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Psalm 37:3-6, 27-28, 39-40
Luke 5:33-39

View Readings
Similar Reflections

our mission to fast

"When the days come that the Groom is removed from their midst, they will surely fast in those days." —Luke 5:35

Jesus said that after His Ascension into heaven, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the birth of His Church, then His disciples would fast. After His disciples were baptized into Him and became new creations, they could fast in a radically new dimension.

Then the early Church tried to discover what Jesus' new kind of fasting was. When the Lord blinded Saul, He put him on a three-day fast from food and drink prior to his Baptism (Acts 9:9). Next, the Lord called the church of Antioch to fast, at which time the Holy Spirit spoke to them and set apart Barnabas and Saul to be the first Christian missionaries (Acts 13:2-3). In each church they started, "they installed presbyters...with prayer and fasting" (Acts 14:23). The first three examples in the Bible of fasting after Jesus' Ascension and the Spirit's coming at Pentecost were in the context of mission. Saul was one of the first two Christian missionaries, Antioch was the first Christian missionary church, and the leaders of the churches founded on the first Christian missionary journey were installed with prayer and fasting.

It may be that we need to be missionaries at heart if we are to fast with the radical newness of the New Testament. Let us repent and ask the Holy Spirit to stir up in us our baptismal zeal for mission. Then we will want to hear God's call to fast.

Prayer:  Father, make me faithful in fasting each Friday and every other opportunity you give me to fast.

Promise:  "The Lord is the One to judge me, so stop passing judgment before the time of His return. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and manifest the intentions of hearts." —1 Cor 4:4-5

Praise:  Pope St. Gregory had a zeal for the missions to bring the Gospel to the Anglo-Saxons, which he did after being elected pope.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our leaflet, The Secret of Fasting.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, January 16, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 26, 2004