I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the LORD,
I take no pleasure in your solemnities;
Your cereal offerings I will not accept,
nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings.
Away with your noisy songs!
I will not listen to the melodies of your harps.
But if you would offer me burnt offerings,
then let justice surge like water,
and goodness like an unfailing stream.
It’s rather ironic that this particular reading is scheduled for today, on Independence Day, which is a holiday in the United States. Most Americans will be celebrating with barbecues, attending parades and fireworks displays. Most of us will find it difficult to fast. Some of us may consider fasting from other activities (rather than fasting from food). Some of us may fast from meat or treats.
Fasting outside of Lent is optional, but still important. However, when it happens to fall on a holiday, it can be particularly difficult. Of course, fasting is counter-cultural and we can still fast, but perhaps we can eat less food or refrain from meat or treats. We can fast even in a small way in thanksgiving for our freedom, something that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide don’t have.
Perhaps many of us may want to spend an hour in Adoration instead of fasting.
Whatever you intend to do, some sort of self-denial can be powerful, not only for ourselves, but for others.
Today when we pray, fast and practice self-denial, let us do so for all the community intentions, for those who are imprisoned or lack freedom, and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Holy Mary, pray for us! Holy Spirit, teach us to pray!