Friday of 1st Week of Lent

Fasting Is to Do Righteous Deeds

One of the three pillars of Lent is fasting. What is fasting? Is fasting to abstain from meat alone? Is fasting to eat fish or shrimps on Friday during Lent only from the age of 14 and up? Is that fasting required for those who are from age 18 to 59 only? Does that fasting mean a person eats one full meal and two small meals that together are not equal to a full meal? Has Catholic Church still kept fasting before the Eucharist? Why don’t we fast after the Eucharist? What does it mean fasting?

Fasting is to abstain from meat or fats. “Humanity's "Fall" away from God and into sin began with eating” according to Reverend Daniel Merz on A Reflection on Lenten Fasting, “God had proclaimed a fast from the fruit of only one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), and Adam and Eve broke it. Fasting is here connected with the very mystery of life and death, of salvation and damnation.”

Why do we fast? Christian tradition can name at least seven reasons for fasting, according to Reverent Daniel Merz, “1. From the beginning, God commanded some fasting, and sin entered into the world because Adam and Eve broke the fast. 2. For the Christian, fasting is ultimately about fasting from sin. 3. Fasting reveals our dependence on God and not the resources of this world. 4. Fasting is an ancient way of preparing for the Eucharist—the truest of foods. 5. Fasting is preparation for baptism (and all the sacraments)—for the reception of grace. 6. Fasting is a means of saving resources to give to the poor. 7. Fasting is a means of self-discipline, chastity, and the restraining of the appetites.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds his disciples and to each and every one of us saying, “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Our fast will be meaningless if we don’t act righteously. Our fast will be meaningless if we don’t learn to reconcile with one another and learn to forgive one another. How do you fast? The decision is yours.


Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen

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