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The good news for the day March 3, 2017

Friday after Ash Wednesday (221)

Some followers of John, the Baptizer, went to Jesus asking, “Why do we and traditional religious leaders—Pharisees—fast so much, while your followers don’t?” Jesus answered them, “Can wedding guests feel depressed as long as the bridegroom is there with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matthew 9)

Why are religious practices so different—not just between religions (as between, say, Islam and Christianity), but even within Christian churches—within the Catholic tradition?  We have Evangelical Catholics who stress enthusiasm and boisterous religious celebrations, while a different set of people prefer quiet Holy Hours and do practice physical penance; a third set of people emphasize St. Vincent DePaul work and visiting the sick.

All of these follow Jesus—because Jesus does not require conformity to external practices—an insistence of His. What He does demand—and it is the thread—the chain—that links different practices together—seems elusive, but it is very real. He asks you to share His outlook, His Spirit—a freedom from a habit of external conformity while you obey your conscience—the Holy Spirit within you directing your attitude, more than behavior.

Creation is a gift from a Father who is your loving God; let your “yes” be your attitude toward your Father with mind, heart, and soul. See your fellow humans—your attitude—as brothers and sisters. Pray in your heart, and not just on your lips. Fast and repent whatever way you need to.

It is all a matte, yes, of your loving—with the “bridegroom” and/or as God’s “child”—to care about one another, denying your self its baser instincts of superiority, retaliation, and hate. Look around and see lovingly; listen to the quiet voice of your Creator—to One who loves you first.

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