Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we begin the forty days of Lent – our yearly sojourn into the wilderness – let us remember that Christ is with us. We read in the beginning of the 4th Chapter of Matthew.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Following Christ let us resist temptation with confidence in His strength.
As we fast let us remember also to pray. Let us fill ourselves with prayer; the lifting of our hands with our mind and heart towards God. As we empty our stomachs let us not forget to fill them with the Word of God.
With our fasting and prayer we must not forget our fellow man. Let us empty ourselves in love for our brother. As the apostle Matthew tells us in the 25th chapter of his Gospel. “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
This is our personal journey through Lent: to fast to pray and give alms. But we have a corporate life as well inseparable from our personal one. We are as Israel of old traveling in the wilderness. Christ is the true manna from heaven – the Word of God. We come together to fast. We come together for our brother. We come together in the Eucharist, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.