Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 21 February
For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice a contrite spirit.
Psalm 50:3-4, 12-13, 18-19. R. v.19
Reflecting on today’s readings, we can see that God calls us to a conversion of heart.
Our penitential acts are not meant to be empty sacrifices. We don’t just deny ourselves the food and drink we like for the sake of it. Fasting reminds us of how we rely on God for our daily needs, we seek forgiveness, and we draw closer to God in humility.
We reflect on this in the first reading (Jonah 3:1-10). Jonah goes to the city of Nineveh and gives the people a great sign: repent and believe in God. And so everyone in this great city starts to fast. Even the king takes off his royal robes and puts on a sackcloth. God sees that the people want to change their ways, and he has mercy on them.
Today we are given warning signs. More people are hungry now than at the turn of the century. World hunger is rising due to climate change and conflict.
Blessed Paul VI once called for “the urgent need for a radical change in the conduct of humanity”. We cannot turn a blind eye to our sisters and brothers who are hungry. We are called to listen to these signs and act on them.
Fasting transforms our hearts
In Zimbabwe, CAFOD works with families – especially young mothers and children – who sometimes eat only one meal a day.
Promise, who works for CAFOD’s partner Caritas Binga, has a special message for you:
“I say to you, appealingly, if you can imagine and remember these young kids, these young mothers, these old women in Zimbabwe, if you can think about them as you go about your Lent, as you go about your fasting, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.”
God of compassion, have mercy on us. Enlighten our hearts to see how we are called to heal our broken world. Through our Lenten fasting, help us to share in the struggles of our sisters and brothers who are hungry, and bring about change. Amen.
Please fast and pray in solidarity with all who are hungry this week. Download our Lent prayers of intercession to help guide you.