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Friday, February 19, 1999

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Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51
Matthew 9:14-15

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former and future wedding guests fast

"Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!" —Isaiah 58:4

Jesus told John the Baptizer's disciples that His own disciples would fast after the wedding feast (Mt 9:15). In so doing, Jesus implied that the time of His bodily presence on earth was a wedding feast. Jesus also taught that He was leading us to the everlasting wedding feast in heaven (see Rv 19:7). Thus, Christian fasting is preceded and followed by wedding feasts.

Christian fasting assumes that we have met Jesus, the Bridegroom, and have rejoiced in the community of His covenant love. If we don't know Jesus and His community, joy, and covenant, we will find fasting very difficult, confusing, or meaningless. Even if we do fast, we will do it with wrong motives.

Also, Christian fasting should always be looking forward to the heavenly marriage feast. When we fast, we should be thinking of Jesus' final coming and the perfect joy of heaven. When we fast, we are to be intent on things of heaven rather than things of earth (Col 3:2). This will give us the right perspective in fasting and help us to persevere in it.

This Lent, fast by eating only one full meal a day, unless the Lord has given you a better way to fast. Fast as former and future wedding guests. Fast in covenant love.

Prayer:  Father, in this year dedicated to You, send the Holy Spirit to teach me to fast as Jesus did.

Promise:  "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." —Is 58:6

Praise:  As he fasted, Robert had more prayer distractions, health changes, and interruptions than before. He persevered and grew much closer to Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 23, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 1998