True Fasting

Almighty ever-living God,
look with compassion on our weakness
and ensure us your protection
by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty.

Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

A Saturday of Lent 

and more on "True Fasting." 
Each of the Saturdays of Lent are more upbeat and "lighter" in tone.
 
We are preparing for Sunday.

Our reading from Isaiah 58 continues, 
as does our self-examination
 
regarding what true fasting is for us this Lent.

What patterns will I change?

Intercessions: 

Let us always and everywhere give thanks to Christ our Savior, and ask him with confidence: 
   Lord, help us with your grace. 

May we keep our bodies pure, 
 - as temples of the Holy Spirit. 

May we offer ourselves this morning to the service of others, 
 - and do your will in all things throughout the day. 

Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life, 
 - the bread that is your gift. 

May your Mother, the refuge of sinners, pray for us, 
 - and gain for us your loving forgiveness.

 

Closing Prayer: 

Loving creator, 
I am not asking to overcome my weakness, 
but to use it in some way to glorify you.

Let me be aware of 
the many ways you reach out to help me today 
and let me stand in awe of the power 
that you use in such loving ways.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen. 
Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Today’s Gospel tells about a meal that Levi hosted for his tax collector friends and Jesus and his disciples. Why this behavior of Jesus and his followers should be so shocking to the Pharisees and their scribes is largely lost on us contemporary readers. What we are missing is that sharing a meal was a very intimate activity in first-century Palestine. One didn’t share a meal casually; eating with others was a sign of friendship. What’s more, for a Jew to eat with people who were considered “unclean” because they didn’t keep the Mosaic law was absolutely taboo. And tax collectors—because they worked in the service of the occupying Roman forces—were definitely unclean. And “sinners” here was a label of anyone who didn’t keep the Mosaic law. So by eating with these outcastes, Jesus and his disciples rendered themselves technically unclean.

The gospels make it clear that this was a deliberate practice of Jesus; it was really a prophetic symbol. It becomes clear in Luke 15 that Jesus was using this stunningly inclusive practice to demonstrate the hospitality of the Father welcoming sinners to the forgiveness of being invited into the kingdom that Jesus was inaugurating in his earthly ministry. It is interesting to note that Luke changes Mark’s wording describing the complaint of the Pharisees and their scribes: whereas Mark says that they ask the disciples why Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners, Luke says that they ask the disciples, “Why do you [plural] eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners.” That subtle adjustment likely means that Luke is alluding to the practice of Christians of his day continuing the practice of their Lord. The takeaway for us is twofold: not only are we sinners invited to share the table of the Lord in Eucharist; we are called to extend hospitality and welcome to include those considered outsiders, strangers and aliens in our communities. In the last speech of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, he puts it this way: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (synēgagete me). The Greek word reminds us of the community dimension of the welcome. This can help us think about the Christian approach to immigrants and refugees.

by Dennis Hamm
Creighton University's Emeritus Theology
click here for photo and information about the writer


 
Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
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