Often our question before Lent is,"What am I to give up? What am I to sacrifice? What am I to take a break from or fast? We wrestle with inquiries from, shall it be chocolate?Alcohol? Or is it some other vice that holds us back or has control over us? Do we do it out of duty to what we were taught that which is the right or correct thing to do? Often this is done without really knowing why we are doing it. This becomes tedious, empty and simply motion, often without meaning. Sometimes we become prideful, other instances frustrated and our hearts become like stone.
We become trapped not only by what we are trying to give up but in the duty to perform it.
Where is our source of strength? Is it in ourselves? Who are we trying to please? For me this has always led to defeat and disappointment. I became weary of duty, of trying to please.
In today's reading in our journey of Lent we are shown the difference from a fast that is one of duty and being trapped, to one that offers grace and mercy. Through this a conversion and softening of our heart takes place and we move from obligation to a heart of tenderness. From shackles to freedom!
In Isaiah it is declared by Yahweh that this is the fast we are to keep;
To break unjust fetters
and undo the thongs of the yoke,
To let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke,
to share your bread with the hungry,
and shelter the homeless poor,
to clothe the person you see to be naked
and not turn from your own kin?
Then will your light shine like the dawn
and your wound be quickly healed over.
May we as individuals and as a community be converted in this way so our hearts may be tender, we move from shackles to freedom and our wounds and the wounds of others "may be quickly healed."