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Friday, March 8, 2019

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St. John of God

Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15

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fasting for god and others

"...not turning your back on your own." —Isaiah 58:7

It is possible for our Lenten fasting to have the effect of focusing on ourself. For example, we focus on our hunger pains, our weight loss, our inconvenience, our lightheadedness. Fasting that centers on ourself is not the kind of fasting the Lord wishes (see Is 58:5). Are our days of fasting only leading us to complain to the Lord, "Why do we fast, and You do not see it? afflict ourselves, and You take no note of it?" (Is 58:3) To such fasting, the Lord responds: "Was it really for Me that you fasted?" (Zec 7:5)

God wishes us to fast for His sake and for the sake of others. Scripture shows that our fasting is best used as a weapon for bringing forth the kingdom of God. Our fasting can move mountains (Mt 17:20-21, NAB), set people free from the oppression of Satan's kingdom of darkness (Is 58:6-7), inaugurate explosions of evangelization (Acts 13:2ff), and restore broken families and relationships (Is 58:12).

"Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus" (Heb 12:2), not on our sufferings. Today and throughout Lent, "fast so as to make your voice heard on high!" (Is 58:4)

Prayer:  Father, others have fasted for me to move me to the point where I am today. May my Lenten fasting move many people, particularly my loved ones, to be set free from the chains that bind them, and set free for Your service.

Promise:  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn." —Ps 51:19

Praise:  In his early life, St. John of God turned away from the Lord. But, in his forties, he received God's mercy and spent the rest of his life serving the poor who were ill.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 24, 2018

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