Commentary on the Gospel of
Fasting has become a trend in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve physical health instead of as a way to do penance and improve spiritual health. Regardless of its potential physical benefits, fasting has definite spiritual purposes. First, the hunger we feel when we fast reminds us of our hunger for God. Only God can satisfy the deepest hungers of our soul, no matter how much we might try to fill them with money pleasure, and power. Second, fasting helps us to learn self-discipline, to recognize our need to root out sinful behavior from our lives. As the priests of Israel offered sacrifice for their sins and the sins of the people, we sacrifice our comfort to learn how to avoid sin. Finally, fasting helps to unite us to the poor. Our hunger is only a shadow of the difficulties they face each day, but it reminds us of the necessity of sharing what we have with our brothers and sisters in need.