Friday after Ash Wednesday
(Isaiah 58:1-9a; Matthew 9:14-15)
Remember when our mothers told us to eat our food because there were children in China going hungry? Comedians make fun of the logic, but there is subtle connection between the two. It is similar to the reasoning behind the lesson about fasting in the first reading today.
Isaiah chastises the people for fasting while ignoring the needy. Fasting – experiencing hunger --should make us conscious of those without food to eat so that we might help them. Our mothers admonished us to finish our dinner with a similar end in mind. They wanted us to be grateful for all the food we have so that we might help those with little.
Food is a good although we sometimes distort its value by eating too much. But it is not the greatest good. God is that. To recognize God as such we fast during Lent. Because God commands us to do so, it would a travesty to fast and not assist the hungry.