Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday after Ash Wednesday
As part of a global faith community that preaches about loving “the stranger,” sometimes, I don’t think we’re living up to our expectations. I think we relate to the people from the first reading, more than we care to admit. In our first reading, God’s people are crying out, and begging God to listen to them. They tell God they’re fasting and praying like they’re supposed to. At the same time, they’re pointing fingers at each other and ask God to validate their judgments. But the Lord sees right through that. He says, “Do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high!” (Is 58:4) I find myself asking, When I do things, is it simply to be noticed and check a box?

Then we learn that the fast God calls us to instead includes breaking the bonds of injustice, freeing the oppressed, fighting against the exploitation of workers, sharing our meals with those who are hungry, inviting people who are homeless into our homes. To me, this is God calling us not to fast from food, but to fast from unjust actions.

During this Lenten season, this leaves me thinking, Whom do I share meals with? Whom do I invite in? Do I see the fullness of human dignity in every person, or do I choose whose dignity I want to see?

Then, when I bring it to prayer, in the quiet of my heart, I hear God say, “Focus on Me.  Focus on loving my people in all the little ways you have control over. Invite the new student out for dinner. Have a conversation with someone who’s alone. Be aware that every action you have impacts another.  And when you do these things, you’ll know I’m with you.”

During the Lenten season, help us to focus on the fasting You’ve asked of us by standing up for our most vulnerable and inviting them to sit at the table with us.

Anna Boesch, Assistant Director of the M.O.V.E. Office

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

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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