Word of the day

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Friday after Ash Wednesday

Reading of the day

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
Is 58:1-9a

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
""Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?""

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Matthew
Mt 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
"Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast."

Words of the Holy Father

How good it would be for us to free ourselves from many superfluous realities, to rediscover what matters, to rediscover the faces of those who are beside us! (…) Fasting is knowing how to give up things that are vain and superfluous in order to reach the essential. Fasting is not only for losing weight. Fasting is actually going to the essential. It is seeking the beauty of a simpler life. (…) They are the lonely and neglected people. How many poor and elderly people are near us and live in silence, without making any noise, marginalized and discarded!. Speaking about them does not increase the ratings. But the desert leads us to them, to those who were stifled and who silently ask for our help: many silent gazes that ask for our help. The journey in the Lenten desert is a journey of charity towards the weakest. (General audience, 26 February 2020)