How much does fasting revolve around Jesus? I gave this reflection during Evening Prayer on the first Friday of Lent on Feb. 28, 2020, at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in Boston. The text of my reflection follows the audio file.
My computer wouldn’t work for a week. It had error messages and would not start at all. All my time was swallowed up in fixing it. Nothing worked.
The ordeal was revealing to me how much I depended on my computer. I needed to research my papers, write them and do my online classes. Here I was without a computer. I was so desperate for a computer that I was tempted to hug the computer at the seminary and yell, “MINE. I need it. Don’t touch it.” But with help from Chris (a fellow seminarian), my computer is back to normal. At the same time, I realized how much useless programs are in my computer. Why do I need these? Aren’t they distractions? So I went through and uninstalled all of them. Now, my computer has the programs I need for my work. No more, no less.
But if we depend so much on technology, how much MORE we depend on Jesus. Through Him, we live, move and have our being. Without Him, we fall. Yet how easily do we lose Jesus and not care at all about it?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that fasting depends on Him. “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Mt. 9:15) Our physical hunger during our fast reminds us of our deeper hunger for Him. Fasting opens our hearts to Him. When we do receive Him, in His light, we see what holds us back. Do I really need this distraction? Do I really need this? In His light, we can let go of what holds us back.
Here are my two questions for you:
What holds us back from Jesus? It could be sin, distractions, misplaced priorities and unhealthy attachments. Turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show you those obstacles.
If you have chosen to give up things for Lent, congratulations. But here is my question to you: How are those sacrifices bringing you closer to Jesus? If they are, PRAISE the Lord. If they are not, ask the Spirit to change them or purify your intentions. Find a reason why you’re giving them up for Jesus.
May God the Father help us desire Jesus more through fasting. May we embrace Him tightly when He comes in the Scriptures, in the Eucharist and all the events of our daily life. Amen.