Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany – A

Years A
Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)
Psalm 112:1-9 (10)
1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16)
Matthew 5:13-20

Time and again we come to ask the question of - what’s in it for me? And time and again we come to be asked – what’s in it for others?

An awareness of the distinction between whether we are asking or being asked focuses us on whether or not we sense our sense or common sense or human wisdom is the chief measuring rod of life. If it is, we have seen evidence of our following prescribed rituals such as fasting and finding their limit in justifying what we are currently doing.

If our sense is that these ritual righteousnesses have their place but there is a mystery of more-life that takes place beyond them, then we may find another level of fasting and living. If this is the case, we have evidence that our actions can have a positive effect in the lives of others that echo in our own.

If fasting from anger doesn’t loosen bonds we wrap around another, our fasting only makes us look tolerant.

If fasting from greed doesn’t loosen a yoke we place around others to provide our well-being, our fasting only makes us look philanthropic.

If fasting from food doesn’t loosen our hold on our bread, our fasting only makes us look sleek.

If fasting from sloth doesn’t loosen our regard for privacy, our fasting only makes us look kingly in our castle.

If fasting from comfort doesn’t loosen our closet locks, our fasting only makes us look the emperor in new clothes.

If fasting from jealousy doesn’t loosen our remembrance of injuries done to us by those who love us, our fasting only makes us look justified.

Fasting for our benefit is one thing. Fasting for the benefit of another is another.

= = = = = = =

a cosmic aarrgghh
rumbles forth
I write of fasting
and take a break
for cheese and crackers

for but a bit of
lovely Wensleydale
how Wallace and Wesley
could go on and on
oblivious to anything but
honey-tinged Wensleydale

hopefully with the help of
a faithful friend
we will muddle through
steady of heart
triumphant in the end

pray all cosmic aarrgghhs
will come ‘round right
to comic har-har-hars

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