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Let our outward appearance reflect our inner heart

January 16,  Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Hebrews 5:1-10 Gospel: Mark 2:18-22

Jesus was asked, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?" He said to them, No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak. If he does, the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, and the tear worsens.

Leviticus (16:29-34) shows that the Jews had several more public and private days of fasting. Fasting symbolized sadness, penance, cleansing, preparation for a feast or a mission, demand of God’s grace, and more. One who fasts asks God for pardon for his absence from Him.

Jesus claimed that He was the bridegroom. The Old Testament imagery is used to represent Yahweh and Israel's marriage. Jesus calls himself the bridegroom and his followers the guests. Later, Christians would consider the Church as Christ's bride.

The Church has remained faithful to Christ's teaching on fasting, which Jesus confirmed with a new meaning. Fasting can be used as preparation. It increases prayer and meditation. Leaving the old and familiar may be necessary.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice (…). The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with the love of the neighbor. Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ (Mt 9:13)” (CCC 2100).

Our outward appearance should reflect our inner heart. Very often, we fast in outward appearance but fail to fast our evil thoughts and intentions, especially sins. Jesus wanted us to fast from the heart; in other words, our fasting should come from the heart. Avoiding evil thoughts and intentions, our fast should be rooted in love for the Lord and our neighbors.

Let us try to fast with the love of God and our neighbors. Let our outward fasting reflect our inner hearts.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.