So we should essentially be asking ourselves this question: What can I fast from that will give me more time to focus on the Lord and others? What do I need to refrain from in my life to better respond to the call from the Lord? The prophet Isaiah captures the type of fasting that God desires. Isaiah focuses on fasting that helps us to refocus our lives on the things that really matter in the eyes of God, reaching out to one another. It is the same example that Jesus gives to us in the Gospel. Jesus came to give life and to give it in abundance (John 10:10). Jesus came to bring healing of mind, body and spirit (Luke 5:23-24). Jesus came to reach out in love (John 13:34). Jesus came to forgive us our sins and to grant us salvation (John 3:16). Thus, we use the season of lent to recall Jesus’ life, passion, and great sacrifice on the cross. In gratitude we then look to live the example of the Lord to one another. We are called to do as Jesus commanded, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).
Don’t let anyone discourage you from what you have given up for lent this year. However, challenge yourself to really reflect on the reason for your fast. Ask yourself, does this fast help me to focus on the message of God and help me to reach out to others. If so, great! Keep going strong and may your Lenten journey bear much fruit. If not, it’s not too late to re-evaluate and make adjustments so that this lent is not the same as usual, but one truly focused on the life of Christ, which calls on us to focus on God and to reach out to others.