Prophetic Fasting

The second reading for today comes from the Prophet Isaiah – a book of complex content and 66 chapters long – yet there is a narrative, meta-narrative if you like, that threads and unifies the whole of the prophetic book. But, today we are privy to only 9 verses, all from Chapter 58.

I think the reason is straightforward why this reading was selected and paired with the gospel reading from Matthew 9. Both address fasting, one of the pillars of Lenten practices and piety. Just two days ago on Ash Wednesday we were reminded: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites” (Mt 6:16). Today our two readings take on the practice of fasting and ask us to examine our own intentions about following this Lenten practice. Continue reading

Stories of Friday abstinence

The capybara is the largest member of the rodent family. Abundant over much of northern and central South America, this plump, pig-sized cousin of the sewer rat spends much of its time in the water, foraging for food (mostly aquatic grasses) and protecting itself from predators like jaguars in wetland areas and semi-flooded savannahs. Its webbed feet and easy-dry fur make its semi-aquatic life easier to manage, and it is still possible to encounter herds of up to 40 capybaras in many South American countries. They’ve even showed up as an invasive species in Florida’s endless wetlands. Continue reading

Command the angels…

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday in Lent. In yesterday’s post we considered the first temptation. Today will move on to the second: 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”  Continue reading