Ash Wednesday at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Castle Rock, CO

Ash Wednesday

14 February 2018 At Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Castle Rock, Colorado

Joel 2, 12-18 + Psalm 51 + 2 Corinthians 5, 20-6, 2 + Matthew 6, 1-6, 16-18

The season into which we enter today is both a season for fasting and a season for feasting. In fact, I am coming to believe that just fasting without feasting makes little sense and is far from life-giving. We could learn more about this from our brothers and sister in Islam. When they fast, there is also a feast. They fast during the daylight, and come evening, there is great family feasting with food shared, companionship, and reflection. The fasting is time of anticipating the happiness and joy of the feast to come. It makes the fasting much more rich and meaningful.

As a child, I dreaded this season, and these forty days of Lent always seemed as though it was more like forty months than simply six weeks. There was little joy during these days making Easter seem more like a time of relief than a season of joy. Let me propose to you what may be a new way of approaching this wonderful season so that Easter and Lent might come together in a better way than we have imagined in the past. They really do go together just like fasting and feasting.

What I want to suggest is that we make a conscious and deliberate effort to both fast and feast for the next forty days: to fast from certain things and to feast on others.

It is time to: Fast from judging others; and feast on Christ living in them.

Fast from emphasis on differences; and feast on the unity of all life.

It is time to fast from words that offend and pollute relationships, and feast on words that purify.

It is time to fast from discontent, and feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger and feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism and feast on optimism and hope.

Fast from complaining and feast of appreciation and compliments.

Fast from bitterness and feast of forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern and feast of compassion for others.

Fast from anxiety, discouragement or fear while feasting on hope through Jesus Christ.

Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.

Fast from gossip; feast on silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm, and feast on prayer that supports.

Fast from everything that separates us from the Lord; feast on everything that draws us to the Lord.

When we do some of this fasting and feasting, the Joy and promise of Easter will make these days a time for celebrating life and faith, hope and peace. Fast and Feast my friends. This Lent will not seem nearly as long, and we could pass these days with smiles, laughter, without waiting for Easter.

Father Tom Boyer