Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 19 A..D. 2010

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 58:1-9a
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? (Matthew 9:15)

Today we most often associate fasting as a means of worship by limiting our food or drink. While this is a legitimate act, we should also see that this practice must not be just an outward show but a genuine response to Christ calling us to self-denial.

The prophet Isaiah expanded this concept by suggesting that any form of self-denial should be done with a true knowledge of its meaning and a heartfelt sincerity of fulfilling its purpose; otherwise, it is only an empty act. Isaiah observed specifically that the privileged class might deny themselves some superficial pleasure but would neglect to change their unkind daily actions such as driving their workers to hard labor, quarreling with vicious claws and malicious talk, keeping people in their service bound with oppressive work, ignoring the needs of the homeless, the poor and even turning their backs on their own needful.

True fasting calls us to untie people's heavy yokes, respecting their dignity, and sharing one's plenty with others less blessed. The essence of fasting, of denying self, is based upon our acting toward others with charity, in God's genuine love and in His truth. Only then will the darkness of God's absence be lifted and His "Holy Light" break forth on such people. Psalm 51 summarizes Isaiah's prophetic word that God will not accept an empty sacrifice, but He will not spurn a contrite and penitent heart.

Christ explains that His disciples have no reason to mourn or to fast, for they are His, the bridegroom's guests, who will feast until He is taken away from them. At that time they will have reason to pray and fast for those souls who have despised, persecuted, abused and killed God's Love and Truth, His greatest gift to man, His Ever-Living Word, Jesus.

O Blessed Lord,

may this season of repentance restore Your light to our sinful eyes by giving us Your blessings and forgiveness as we genuinely practice self-denial.

~ Marie Bocko, OCDS | email: mlbocko(at)twcny(dot)rr(dot)com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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