Before all else, brothers and sisters, fast from strife and discord. Recall the prophets reproach: On your fast days you follow your own desires, you goad those under your yoke, you beat them with your fists, and is your cry to be heard? (Is 58:3-5). And to this he added: This is not the fast I have chosen, says the Lord.If you wish to cry out, make use of the cry of which it is written, With my voice I cried out to the Lord (Ps 141:2). Thats not a cry of strife but of charity, not of the flesh but of the heart. Thats not the cry of which the prophet spoke: I looked for him to do judgment and he did iniquity, and to do justice and instead he caused an outcry (Is 5:7).Forgive and you will be forgiven; give and you will be given (Lk 6:37-38). These are the two wings by which prayer flies to God: that you forgive those who have wronged you and that you give to the needy. (Augustine, Sermon 205, 3; PL 38, 1040)
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.