FASTING AND LISTENING
“…they will not be convinced…” –Luke 16:31
During the 19th century, the rich in England were said to have not wanted to be Catholic because then they would have to “worship with the help,” that is, the servants, since the Catholic faith was open to all, both rich and poor. On this topic, St. Paul corrected the Corinthians, for in their very early Christian “meetings,” the rich ate plentifully while the poor went hungry (see 1 Cor 11:17ff). The early Church focused on being “mindful of the poor” (Gal 2:10). When the widows complained, the apostles prayed over and imposed hands on seven men chosen to oversee the just, daily distribution of food (see Acts 6:1-6).
As we read last Sunday, Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, and it was a conversation in which all three members had done a forty-day fast (Mt 4:2; Ex 34:28; 1 Kgs 19:8). If the living brothers of the rich man would not listen to Moses and the prophets (represented by Elijah), who had fasted for forty days, then they wouldn’t listen to a person who rose from the dead, that is, Jesus, who had fasted for forty days (see Lk 16:31). One of the effects of fasting is to bring solidarity with the poor, who also often miss meals for financial reasons. Another effect of fasting is to become one with the Lord. One who fasts empties himself or herself of the things of the world, such as food, to be filled with God.
People who wish to be separated from the poor are in great danger of wishing to be separated from the Lord. There is such a place reserved for people who refuse to listen to the Lord. It’s called hell. Therefore, start fasting, so as to hear the Lord and serve the poor.
PRAYER: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord” (Jer 17:7).
PROMISE: “The Lord watches over the way of the just.”–Ps 1:6
PRAISE: Peter volunteers at a supper-time soup kitchen to serve Jesus in the poor (see Mt 25:40).