Today’s First Reading from Isaiah talks about the fasting that God desires of us, not the fasting we desire of ourselves. He says:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Our Lord wants fasting that unbounds the just, breaks the jokes. feeds the hungry. shelters the homeless, clothes the naked, and does not turn our backs on our own. Essentially, he’s talking about freedom. He wants us to be free from earthly things, free from the unjust, free from sin, free from ourselves. He wants to release those of us who are bound unjustly by prejudice, jealousy. ambition, and fear. He wants our light to break forth like the dawn and our wounds to be quickly healed. He promises to vindication us, and to “guard our backs”.

This Lent the Lord is coming to free us from others and from ourselves and to be our rear guard in any threatening situation. With God as our body guard, what more do we have to worry?

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