It is 3rd March 2017. The readings are from Isaiah 58:1-9; and the Gospel from Matthew 9:14-15. The first reading teaches us that our fasting must align our hearts to the heart of God. The inner light begins to glow only in sharing and giving what we have with the needy ones. We need to go through some sort of a personal pain in giving. When we are giving from our abundance, we are not giving at all. Our giving must make us to feel the pinch of pain and it needs to be done quietly and privately. “The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.” (Is.58:6,7). Our works of mercy is not only pleasing God when it is done in a manner that is very silently and secretly, it also brings the light from within and dispelling our darkness that created our own sinfulness and selfishness. Justice and charity must be prevailing in all we do and say. The light is none other than Christ himself will rise from our unbiased charity. Isaiah calls for a fast, not from food, but from affluence, indifference, and privilege so that the community of faith might live in harmony with God. Our fasting, prayer, penance must bring peace, prosperity and happiness within ourselves and around us. Our giving need to come from the depth of our souls. The responsorial Psalm prays, “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” (Ps.51:19b). In the Gospel, we are reminded that our fasting has something to do with the relationship and love we have for the Lord himself. The fragrance of our sacrifices pleases the Lord and fills the souls of the needy. “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Mt.9:15). It is the time to fast and moreover it is also the first Friday of the month, we need to consecrate our lives to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by our mortifications and penance. The devil takes advantage of our slackness of our piety. Let us be careful with our spiritual efforts during this Lent. Let our efforts make us come closer to God and make the other needy persons of the community to be thankful to the Lord by our charity and Lenten sacrifices. May you have a good day.