Today is only the third day of Lent, so chances are good that your fast is still going strong. Three days without whatever you “gave up” – be it sweets, television, alcohol, coffee, Facebook – probably has not been too bad.

By fasting from temptations and distractions over these 40 days, we can purify ourselves for Easter. We can turn inward and focus on our relationship with God in preparation for Jesus’ resurrection and our own entry into the kingdom.

But when we fast from these things, we might also find that we have more time for prayer and service; more money to put in the poor box. We cannot let our Lenten purification stop at ourselves. We should use this time especially to ready God’s kingdom here on earth.

Rather than “give up” things, we must take on responsibilities in order to make that happen, as we hear today in the first reading.

“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.”
– Excerpt from today’s first reading from Isaiah 58 

Since it is still early in the Lenten season, take some time to ponder: 

  1. How does my fast match this prescription? 
  2. How can I use my Lent to bring about God’s kingdom on earth?
  3. How can my Lent draw me closer in solidarity to those who are oppressed, hungry or homeless?