Fri 4 March

Fri 4 March

Friday after Ash Wednesday, (commemoration of Saint Casimir)

First reading

Isaiah 58:1-9

The sort of fast that pleases me

Thus says the Lord:
Shout for all you are worth,
 raise your voice like a trumpet.
Proclaim their faults to my people,
 their sins to the House of Jacob.

They seek me day after day,
 they long to know my ways,
like a nation that wants to act with integrity
 and not ignore the law of its God.

They ask me for laws that are just,
 they long for God to draw near:
‘Why should we fast if you never see it,
 why do penance if you never notice?’

Look, you do business on your fast-days,
 you oppress all your workmen;
look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast
 and strike the poor man with your fist.

Fasting like yours today
 will never make your voice heard on high.
Is that the sort of fast that pleases me,
 a truly penitential day for men?

Hanging your head like a reed,
 lying down on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call fasting,
 a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me
 – it is the Lord who speaks –
to break unjust fetters and
 undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,
 and break every yoke,
to share your bread with the hungry,
 and shelter the homeless poor,

to clothe the man you see to be naked
 and not turn from your own kin?
Then will your light shine like the dawn
 and your wound be quickly healed over.

Your integrity will go before you
 and the glory of the Lord behind you.
Cry, and the Lord will answer;
 call, and he will say, ‘I am here.’

Psalm or canticle

Psalm 50(51):3-6,18-19

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
 In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
 and cleanse me from my sin.

My offences truly I know them;
 my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
 what is evil in your sight I have done.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,
 burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
 A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.


Matthew 9:14-15

When the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast

John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’

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Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at

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