Friday 7th March – Friday after Ash Wednesday
Reflection: Matthew 9: 14-15
FOLLOWING THE BRIDEGROOM’S FOOT STEPS
Our identity as Christians comes with responsibilities. The sum of which requires that our lives be modeled after our lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20). Since He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), we can be rest assured of a victorious Christian life when we carefully follow his footsteps. From today’s Gospel reading we see our Lord answer the disciples of John that His disciples will fast when He, the Bridegroom, is taken away from them.
Going by our Lord’s response and His personal example of forty days of fasting and prayer (Matthew 4:1-2), we need to ask ourselves how readily we embrace this spiritual discipline? Though for various reasons we might not all be able to fast for forty days, nevertheless we must not be carried away by the spiritual laxity and error of those who now consider fasting as archaic and inconsequential to our spiritual development! The Scripture and the Church both advocate our need for self mortification through fasting and abstinence to be more united to God (1 Corinthian 9:25-27; Joel 2:12-13; Daniel 9:3-4; CCC 2043). Quoting St. Augustine, “Fasting purifies the soul. It lifts up the mind, and it brings the body into subjection to the spirit. It makes the heart contrite and humble, scatters the cloud of desire, puts out the flames of lust and enkindles the true light of chastity.”
However, whether as part of the discipline of Lent or outside the Lenten season, it is important we conduct our fast in a manner acceptable to God (Isaiah 58:1-9). Our fasting must be coupled with good work, especially towards the needy. We must necessarily spend more time in prayer and avoid all forms of spiritual pride (Luke 18: 9-14; Matthew 6:16-18)!
PRAYER: Dearest Father, please help me to mortify my body that my spirit may be more united with You. Amen.
KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 487 – Why should we petition God for other people?
As Abraham intervened by his prayer for the inhabitants of Sodom, as Jesus prayed for his disciples, and as the early Christian community looked “not only to [their] own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4), so too Christians always pray for everyone—for people who are dear to their hearts, for people who are not close to them, and even for their enemies.
HIDE A TREASURE: “So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty” Ezra 8:23 RSV-CE
Readings for today: Isaiah 58: 1-9; Psalm 51: 3-6,18-19; Matthew 9:14-15