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March 3, 2017

St. Katharine Drexel

Isaiah 58:1-9A

Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Fasting with Humility

The proud man eats smoked salmon instead of his typical steak filet for Friday’s dinner. He has his head smudged with ash while also making sure the soot does not fall on his pressed white shirt. He genuflects to the fourteen wall sculptures along the church’s walls before cussing out the “idiot driver” who cut him off on his way home. He scoffs at New York Time’s reports of the absurd chaos and violence in the Middle East while being completely ignorant of the crime and poverty three neighborhoods away from him.

Pride is the most glamorous of all poisons. Pride turns us into narcissistic fools. It praises the status quo and trivializes the sacred. It turns upside down our fragile pilgrimage of faith. It infects us all.

Thankfully, the prophet Isaiah prescribes a remedy to the poison.

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.

Fasting—giving up things, attitudes, and beliefs so that we can pick up the humble disposition of generous love. It is a simple, regularly-overlooked solution with beautiful results.

The humble woman laughs at a good joke from an unexpected friend. She snacks on just enough food when she can find the time between classes and meetings. She listens to her mother share her wisdom. She forgets that she wore to work the same clothes as yesterday because she was so busy taking care of her family, co-workers, and patients. The humble woman thinks first of her neighbor—the oppressed, hungry, tired, and homeless. In short, the humble woman fasts.

May we fast not with great pride, but humility this Lent.
Mr. Sean Powers, ‘05 teaches visual art at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Holy God, as Lent begins,
may I carry out in word and in deed
all that you ask and invite. Amen.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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March 3, 2017

St. Katharine Drexel

Isaiah 58:1-9A

Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.

Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”

Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day,
and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.

Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Fasting with Humility

The proud man eats smoked salmon instead of his typical steak filet for Friday’s dinner. He has his head smudged with ash while also making sure the soot does not fall on his pressed white shirt. He genuflects to the fourteen wall sculptures along the church’s walls before cussing out the “idiot driver” who cut him off on his way home. He scoffs at New York Time’s reports of the absurd chaos and violence in the Middle East while being completely ignorant of the crime and poverty three neighborhoods away from him.

Pride is the most glamorous of all poisons. Pride turns us into narcissistic fools. It praises the status quo and trivializes the sacred. It turns upside down our fragile pilgrimage of faith. It infects us all.

Thankfully, the prophet Isaiah prescribes a remedy to the poison.

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.

Fasting—giving up things, attitudes, and beliefs so that we can pick up the humble disposition of generous love. It is a simple, regularly-overlooked solution with beautiful results.

The humble woman laughs at a good joke from an unexpected friend. She snacks on just enough food when she can find the time between classes and meetings. She listens to her mother share her wisdom. She forgets that she wore to work the same clothes as yesterday because she was so busy taking care of her family, co-workers, and patients. The humble woman thinks first of her neighbor—the oppressed, hungry, tired, and homeless. In short, the humble woman fasts.

May we fast not with great pride, but humility this Lent.
Mr. Sean Powers, ‘05 teaches visual art at St. Louis U. High.

Prayer

Holy God, as Lent begins,
may I carry out in word and in deed
all that you ask and invite. Amen.

 


Please share the Good Word with your friends!