Last year at this time we visited the blog Scripture4You. Because they take more of a poetic approach to scripture and the readings are shorter than what we do here, I thought we would include two of their most recent posts. As always, click the titles to see these at source, along with some beautiful illustrations. (I wish I had the font that they used as well!) The scripture verses are all links as well, today we’ve used the Common English Bible for all of them.
Jesus called Levi, the tax collector, to follow.
Jesus was an equal opportunity employer.
Levi was so excited about his new career…
…he gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
Levi invited all of his friends who also just happened
to be in the financial field.
So was this one of the first fund raiser events.
Did Levi see that if Jesus was to spread his message
some additional funds might be necessary?
Jesus chose to place himself in the company
of every kind of person imaginable.
He did not concern himself with a person’s
sinfulness social or economic status.
Jesus came for everyone.
Imagine for a minute if Jesus
had only chosen fine upstanding members
of the community for his followers.
Would the greatest of sinners given him any notice?
Jesus purposely went out of his way to encounter
all aspects of the human condition.
No one repulsed him… no one was rejected by him…
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician,
but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous
to repentance but sinners.”
Today we believe in annual
visits to our physician for our well-being.
Jesus was focused on the well-being of the soul.
We have many ways to maintain the health
of our soul through the sacraments.
When Jesus walked among us
he was the preview of all of the sacraments.
Jesus restores and repairs all things;
those whom he called came to witness this first hand.
We are Blessed today because Jesus
is the Divine Physician
for the body and soul.
14 At that time John’s disciples came and asked Jesus, “Why do we and the Pharisees frequently fast, but your disciples never fast?”
15 Jesus responded, “The wedding guests can’t mourn while the groom is still with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they’ll fast.
Today’s message highlights the pitfalls
and the beauty of fasting.
Fasting is a spiritual practice designed
to bring us closer to God.
We do not fast to let others think more highly of us.
A time of fasting is not to pretend we are a better
person because we are not eating.
Fasting is a practice to remind ourselves of our dependence on God.
It is God who sustains us in all our needs.
We fast for blood work, we fast because it is prescribed
by our religious beliefs.
Fasting is not so much about what we do or don’t eat.
Fasting is more about our mindset.
We must ask ourselves what is our motivation for fasting.
God reveals to Isaiah what amounts to
the Beatitudes of Fasting.
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.
Yours will be a clean heart…entrance into the kingdom.
…your wound shall quickly be healed…
If while you are fasting you focus on the care of others;
your own ills will be healed…
your heart will be cleansed…
you will be forgiven…
Your fasting will not be in vain…for all the wrong reasons.
The wounds of our soul are healed
when we reach out to care for God’s children.
The wounds of our soul from years past
will be filled in smoothed over with the grace of God.
If you choose to fast do so with a loving heart…
for even if you are not aware of the wounds of your heart
healing will occur.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn…
Fasting is not about being sad and gloomy.
Fasting is about surrendering our will to doing God’s will.
It is in fasting where we can come to know
what hunger for God truly is…
Our hunger for God is our hunger to be made
whole again to be with him in heaven.
Blessings may come in restricting you food intake,
but not by ignoring the needs of the poor.