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 parallels the reasoning behind the lesson about fasting in the first reading today.
Isaiah chastises the people for fasting while ignoring the needy. Fasting – experiencing voluntary 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 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. In any case food is not the greatest good. God is. To recognize God as such we fast during Lent. Because God commands us to do so, it would a travesty for us to fast from food and not assist the hungry.