Day three. How’s it going?
There’s a tendency to treat Lent and our Lenten practices like a New Year’s Resolution or like a game.
-No facebook for me after 8pm.
--Well, only 15 minutes of facebook a day for me.
---I am giving up facebook entirely during Lent.
The same could be true with food, TV, praying, or whatever it is we decided to do in order to offer something. These are not unsatisfactory things to do, in fact if we use that time to grow closer to God, to deepen our relationship with God and others, our neighbors, then great, keep going!
At the end of the day or week, however, if we are quarreling and fighting (Isaiah 58:4) because of what we are doing, is it worth it? If it isn’t then perhaps something else is needed. And today’s reading from Isaiah gives us some suggestions:
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.
These issues may seem broad and far away from our first world problems, but they aren’t. Contacting the local Salvation Army or homeless shelter can give us an idea of the need where we are. CRS Rice Bowl also provides a way to help, and your parish may already be doing this! Sharing what we have and setting someone free doesn’t require that we build a hospital; it’s helping other people get clean water, food, and shelter, so that they can live without bondage to disease or starvation.
Turning off the computer, the TV, the phone can help us improve our relationship with God, but we should make sure that we don’t turn our back on others.