This week we remember our Lord’s death with sorrow, joy, contrite hearts, and acts of penitence and devotion. Yet, as we do that, it is wise to remember that God is not pleased merely by how many fasts you keep and how many hour you pray. Remember that Christ’s work on earth was to preach the good news to the poor, free prisoners, heal the blind, set the downtrodden free and proclaim the Kingdom of God to all who will listen. (Luke 4: 18, 19). And that he has called us to the same and like faithful servants, we hear his call.
As Isaiah related:
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? – Isaiah 58: 3 – 9