Daily Reflections
by Cathy

January 21, 2020 Reflection – Then they will fast on that day…

They will fast on that day….
(c) Mary TV 2020

January 21, 2020
St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

Dear Family of Mary!

October 25, 2012 “Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

In the Gospel reading for Monday, Jan. 20, Jesus said: “…the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day” (Mark 2:20). Having just moved into Ordinary time after the beautiful Christmas Season, many of us are slow to begin fasting again! But it is time to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus! Fr. Kenny gave a very practical and moving homily about fasting yesterday, at English Mass in Medjugorje. I have transcribed it for us, so we can pray over it. I think it carries a grace with it, because it is simply the truth!

Fr. Don Kenny Homilist- January 20, 2020 English Mass in Medjugorje

When I was thinking about this homily yesterday, I wasn’t going to talk about it or about fasting because I felt that you know more about fasting than I do. But, four questions raised their head during the day. And I thought I would share these with you. And you probably already know the answer to them, but it is good to remind ourselves.

First – Did Jesus really teach about fasting? Did He ask us to fast?

And the answer to that is of course, yes, He does instruct us! Especially in Matthew, Chapter 9, He says: “…when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast on that day.” And He presumes His followers will fast, in the Sermon on the Mount, when He teaches very clearly, “when you fast…”, He says…not “If you fast…” And He goes on to say, “Anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to be fasting before others. Your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.”

The second question that came up was: When did fasting on certain days originate?

You know Our Lady here asks us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. But it is found as early as the first century, in the teaching of the Twelve Apostles. And in that we read, “Christ commanded us to fast on Wednesday and Friday”. And the saints explain that we fast on Wednesdays because on this day Our Lord was betrayed. And we fast on Friday because on this day He suffered death for our salvation.

The third question that hit me was: What is the purpose of fasting?

I suppose we can say that although fasting has many health benefits, the primary aim of fasting is to make us conscious of our dependence on God. We voluntarily experience physical hunger in order to become aware of our true spiritual hunger. Another reason we fast is to subdue our passions and our self-will. The saints tell us there is not way that we can control our urges for pleasure, money or power, if we cannot control our stomach. Fasting is the first way to self-control. And our self-will is cut off by being obedient to the Church and Her rules.

And the fourth and the final one is: Is fasting only a matter of diet?

And the answer to that is clearly no! It is moral as well as physical. True fasting is to be converted in heart and in will. It is to return to God. To come home like the Prodigal Son, to our Father’s house. In the words of St. John Christendom: It means abstinence on only from food but from sins. He says that the fast should be kept not only by the mouth, but also by the eye, the ear, the feet, the hands, and all members of the body. The eye must abstain from impure sights, the ear from malicious gossip, the hands from acts of injustice. And St. Basil goes on to that it is useless, absolutely useless, he says, to fast from food and yet indulge in criticism of others and slander of others. In the end there is a great phrase, “You do not eat meat, and devour your brother…”

Some great reasons for us to fast.

(Fr. Don Kenny, Medjugorje, January 20, 2020 – You can listen to it here: https://marytv.tv/english-mass-in-medjugorje/ 

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2020

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