Daily Gospel reflections: What fasting teaches us
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
“My father, if the prophet told you to do something extraordinary, would you not do it? All the more since he told you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” (2 Kings 5:13)
For many years, my reaction to fasting was a lot like the indignation of Naaman in this story. The Church asks us to fast as part of our Lenten practice. But I hate to be hungry. Although it is an unremarkable human experience, I consider it a small-scale personal emergency.
Surely God doesn’t want me walking around irritable and short tempered during Lent, I reasoned. Surely there are loftier spiritual pursuits. What I came to see is that the belief I was somehow above such a practice was the very reason I needed it.
I see fasting now as a way to address my rampant self-importance. Fasting teaches us about humility, tolerance, and empathy — lessons that I desperately need to learn. When we fast, we set aside our own comfort in order to more fully direct our attention to God. So what if I feel deprived? Maybe I should just get over it.
— Karla Manternach
2 Kings 5:1-15AB
Psalm 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
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