Fasting: what it means to me

In preparation for Lent Family Fast Day, we asked Fr Nicholas Crowe some questions about Lent. He told us what fasting means to him and why fasting this Lent is a real opportunity for spiritual growth and love of neighbour.

What does fasting mean to you?

Let’s start by thinking about why fasting in a Christian sense is different from dieting. It is because Christian fasting comes from an act of faith. It is our faith that things can be different, that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are called to be a new creation.

So often our cravings and routines can become selfish and block out God and the needs of others. So we need Lent as a time to turn back to God, to make a special effort to let Jesus be the centre of our lives. I see Lent as an invitation to renew and deepen our conversion, a spiritual gym work out. However, in our Lenten gym, God’s grace lifts the weights and causes the real change in us. All we have to do is turn up.

Taking part in Family Fast Day is our way of turning up, of saying yes to God. Yes God, cause great change in me this Lent. Be bold enough to join the fast and let Jesus show you the injustice, the marginalised and the unloved that need you today.

Donate the money you save through fasting to our Family Fast Day appeal

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Gospel reflection: Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar

Every Friday, we offer you a reflection on the Sunday gospel. This week’s reflection was written by Dr Susy Brouard, who works in CAFOD’s Theology Programme.

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Based on the Gospel for Sunday 22 October – Matthew 22:15-21 “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God”

The Religious authorities are determined to undermine Jesus’ authority and once again Jesus manages to undermine their authority instead.

Clearly, the authorities do not stand apart from the Roman occupation, since they readily seem to be able to produce a coin with Caesar’s head on it. It is significant that Jesus is unable to produce a coin himself since he is homeless, dependent on the goodness, generosity and hospitality of others.

Jesus affirms the need to fulfil our civic duties, but even more so – as creatures who are bearers of God’s image – we are called to go beyond the law showing love, mercy and justice to others and to all of creation.  This love is made manifest not in a passive desire to avoid doing wrong, but in an active determination to work for the flourishing of all.

Dear Lord, help us to fulfil our civic duties towards one another and towards the common good. Help us to remember that every person is made in your image, and every part of creation reflects your glory. Inspire us to use our civil rights to advocate for the flourishing of all peoples and all creation. Amen.

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