Tuesday, November 17, 2009

“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15.11)

The passage is often quoted in discussion regarding fasting, normally by those who wish to not fast. This passage though is not about fasting; it is about ritual washing of hands. If we read the passage in context we understood the Jews believed that eating food with unclean hands would cause the entire person to be made unclean. This is also a common misunderstanding in regard to fasting as many believe the Church teaches us to fast because food is somehow bad and unclean. While this may have been the Jewish understanding, it is not the teaching of the Church. We fast simply as a spiritual discipline to show our commitment to God that our spiritual life is more important than our physical life. In a manner of speaking, in our fasting, we die so that we may live. (see Matthew 16.24-26)

Take the opportunity to prepare for the Christmas Feast during the holy season of fasting. It is not only a discipline, it is also the Holy Tradition of the Church.

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