When we're doing it wrong
Read Micah 6:6-8
"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Reflection: I love fast food. I really love Wendy’s. As a teenager, I discovered the spicy chicken sandwich (add cheese for 30 cents), and that was it for me. It’s still a fixture in my diet, and I really appreciate the fast food workers who make that happen for me on a regular basis. Committing to this Fast from Fast Food was a challenge noted by my coworkers and friends.
As part of the Catholic tradition, we commit each Lenten Season to prayer, almsgiving and sacrifice in order to grow nearer to God and follow more closely the ministry of Jesus Christ. We fast or “give up” something important to us. For me, going without a Wendy’s chicken sandwich with cheese is truly a sacrifice. In our day-to-day, we often find ourselves highlighting that very sacrifice as an important act of our martyrdom, so our peers know we are committed Christians.
In Chapter 6, Micah rebukes the Israelites. He tells them they’re doing it wrong… As followers of Christ, we’re often doing it wrong. In fact, the above two paragraphs are excellent examples of me doing it wrong. It’s actually not the “giving up" that demonstrates my commitment to God. The Israelites thought all sorts of sacrifices would be pleasing to God: cows, rams, oil, their children… Micah says, “No guys, in all things build a more just world and be merciful and loving to others… all others. Oh, and be humble when you’re doing it, because it’s not about you, it’s about God.” That’s how we do it according to the Scripture.
Participating in the Fast from Fast Food is a gesture that I find deeply challenging, but it is not the sacrifice of tasty chicken sandwiches that God asks of us. The Fast from Fast Food isn’t actually about me or you individually; it must be about God and building His Kingdom the way we’ve been instructed. It’s about bringing justice to a morally corrupt fast food industry. It’s about loving workers and echoing their voices so they’re heard. It’s about humbly calling for an economic system that values the contributions of all those who participate. I believe, if we’re careful, we can learn from the missteps of the Israelites and fast in a fashion aligned with what is pleasing to God.
By Adam DeRose, Interfaith Worker Justice
Prayer: Creator God, provide us with guidance as we fast. Allow us to remember our fast is not just about sacrifice, but about the dignity of work, and that all might have work that provides a means to participate fully in your creation.