Not so fast, says Isaiah the prophet. Not so fast! There is no such thing as fasting without justice.
The word, fast, comes from faestan. It means “to fasten” or “to entrust” myself to something or someone. As Christians, we fasten ourselves to Christ. To entrust ourselves to him more fully in Lent, we fast from food, boisterous laughter, idle chatter, alcohol, etc…
But Isaiah today adds a deeper meaning to our fast, and so does St. Benedict (RB 49). They believe that there’s more to fasting than giving up something or abstaining. It’s called Justice, God’s Justice, that’s what I said: GOD’S Justice. It goes like this: If we continue to fight, Lent limps. If people go hungry and if people are naked, Lent limps. If we still turn our backs on our community members, friends and family, then Lent limps.
Not so fast, Isaiah says. Lent limps less and less if we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return!