Advent Day 28 of 50: Fasting
Today’s passage talks about the third member of the trinity of faith expressions. In this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about acts of charity, then about prayer. And today, he continues with…
When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:16-18)
Fasting is the third expression of faith that Lord explains is between you and your Creator.
Fasting is a physical deprivation of food. Like prayer and acts of charity, fasting is one more necessary element in the life of the Christian. Not only did Jesus teach it, he practiced fasting, most notably during his 40 day period of seclusion in the wilderness following his baptism and prior to beginning his ministry.
Fasting strengthens the will and resolve of an individual. During a fast, an individual feels hunger, sometimes accompanied by pain. It is at those moments of physical yearning that we understand the words of Jesus during his 40 day fast, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
A call to fast and prayer is a call to learn about your strengths and limits. It is necessary to prepare and strengthen your inner self for spiritual warfare. Behind all the physical wars out there, there are even bigger spiritual battles that cannot be escaped. Often, people look outside of themselves for the solutions to their fears and problems. Each of us has it within us to be a part of the solution.
Let us pray, Lord and God, Jesus Christ. Before you started your holy ministry here on earth, you secluded yourself and fasted. You taught us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. May those words satisfy our hunger for righteousness and strengthen our soul and conscience to stand upright for peace and understanding. We thank you along with the Father and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Cover: Luna & Gregory Beylerian, 2023