READINGS for 2009-02-27

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



a GOOd TURN daIly
“…. not turning your back on your own.” – Isaiah 58:7
The old man tearfully offered his cell phone to the hospital cashier. “Isasangla ko na lang po ito,” (“I’ll just pawn this to you,”) he said. My sister was paying her bill in another counter. She saw the old man write a promissory note with a distraught look on his face. Meanwhile, the cashier held on to the phone.
After paying her bill, my sister couldn’t help herself. She approached the old man. “Do you have a problem?” The man replied, “I have no more money to bring my brother out of the hospital. He didn’t make it.” My sister quickly asked, “How much was your bill?” “P668.00,” the man said. My sister, with mixed emotions, offered, “Let me settle your bill.” And she proceeded to the counter.
Sometimes, we grumble that we don’t have enough money to buy this and that. What we don’t know is that there are people whose lives depend on the price of a cell phone, a new dress, a new pair of shoes or even a meal. Must we continue looking in the other direction?Tess Atienza
Remember how we were taught to do a good turn daily in grade school? We’re not too old to go back to doing that.
Lord, give me a sensitive and compassionate heart to do something good for others each day.


Ascetical practices are a good way to remind us of the need for discipline in our lives. However, discipline without a proper object or goal in mind is useless. Jesus, help me to embrace the discipline of Lent with the goal of a deeper conversion in my life. Grant me the humility to accept that I need to grow in holiness and give me the grace to begin to walk down this path.
Isaiah 58:1-9a
1 Thus say the Lord God: Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; tell my people their wickedness, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 They seek me day after day, and desire to know my ways, like a nation that has done what is just and not abandoned the law of their God; they ask me to declare what is due them, pleased to gain access to God. 3 “Why do we fast, and you do not see it? Afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. 4 Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! 5 Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance — that a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 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; 7 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. 8 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. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am!
Psalm 51:3-4. 5-6ab. 18-19
R: A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
1 [3] Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2 [4] Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 3 [5] For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always. 4 [6] “Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight.” (R) 16 [18] For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. 17 [19] My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (R)
Fasting and any other ascetical practice for that matter are not directed towards drawing attention to one’s self, but reminding one of the need to take seriously the call to Christian discipleship. Too often we will see supposedly religious people drawing attention to themselves by the things they do or the clothes they wear. This is utterly useless unless there is true conversion of heart occurring within the person. The saints shun attention and seek only approval of and glory for God. We must learn to do the same!
Matthew 9:14-15
14 The disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
my reflections
think: Let us embrace the discipline of Lent with the goal of a deeper conversion in our lives.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


Fasting is a spiritual discipline. The Church gives us certain days and times of the year whereby we are required to fast. Traditionally, Friday is a day of abstinence and fasting in honor of Jesus who died on Good Friday, offering His life for us on the Cross.
Lent is a penitential season whereby we are called to fast. Traditionally, fasting is seen as the denial of food but, in more recent times, fasting has taken upon a broader practice. Fasting is associated with repentance and sorrow for sin. The Day of Atonement was a day of fasting for the Jews to atone for sins. It involved a day of ritual observances. Even to this day the Muslims celebrate annually the ninth month of the Muslim calendar as the Ramadan — a month of fasting. The Pharisees fasted twice a week. During Lent, the Church unites with Jesus and His fasting for 40 days in the desert.
Jesus is approached by some of the Pharisees. They question His lack of ritual observance. Jesus suggests that it is hardly relevant to fast when the Bridegroom is here. Fasting was associated with sorrow; Jesus came to bring happiness and life. Jesus is the Bridegroom who has come to wed His Bride, the Church.
What good would it be if you are invited to a wedding feast and did not eat? What a shame and cause of embarrassment to the one who invited you as guest. Jesus understands His time of being present in the world as a time of marriage, a celebration, an occasion of festivity and joy just like any marriage. There will come a time when the Bridegroom will not be here (referring to His death). Then will the time come for fasting. The best fast we can make is that of fasting from sin! In today’s First Reading, God speaks through His prophet about the kind of fast acceptable to Him. Things such as: releasing the prisoner, setting free the oppressed, sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked and not turning your back on your own.
As God says, what good is fasting when you end up quarrelling and fighting one another? Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Reflection Question:
In what ways can I grow in fasting?
My sacrifice, O God, is a humble and contrite heart.
St. Veronica, pray for us.

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