Friday, 16 February 2018 -
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 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."
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Saint Peter Chrysologus
"This, rather, is the fasting that I wish... sharing your bread with the hungry" (Is 58,6-7)

Whoever fasts must understand what fasting is: they should sympathize with the hunger of others if they would have God sympathize with their own and whoever hopes for mercy should show mercy... What we have lost through indifference we should win by fasting, so let us lay down our lives with our fasts since there is nothing more important we can offer God, as the prophet testifies when he says: “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn” (Ps 51[50],19). So offer your life to God, offer the oblation of your fasting so that it may become a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim pleading on your behalf... But if these gifts are to be accepted, mercy must follow them. Fasting bears no fruit unless watered with compassion. Mercy makes it less arid and what rain is to the earth, mercy is to fasting. Someone who fasts may well cultivate his heart, purify his flesh, weed out vice, sow virtue, but unless he pours over it the waters of mercy, it will give him no fruit. So you who fast: your field will fast too if deprived of mercy. You who fast: whatever you pour away in mercy will spring up again in your barn. If you are not to waste everything with your greed, garner through your generosity. In giving to the poor it is to yourself that you give for whatever you do not hand over to your neighbour you will not have yourself.

A homily on prayer, fasting and almsgiving; PL 52, 320