(MAT. 6: 14-21)

Today, at the beginning of the great fast of the Resurrection, Jesus teaches us about three things: about forgiveness, about fasting, and about the treasures of Heaven, or the eternal treasures.

1. About forgiveness.

If we don't forgive, God won't forgive us either. So our forgiveness depends more on us than on God.

2. About fasting.

Fasting helps us understand God's greater purpose for man. But we should not take fasting with a narrow understanding. Because there are those who believe that if you don't eat meat and similar things is sufficient for saying that you have fasted. So you don't eat pork, but you do eat human flesh by slandering, biting with the mouth, sentencing with the word, and killing with the thought. Especially in Christianity, fasting is not a diet for the stomach. Reducing fasting to a matter of the stomach would narrow the meaning Jesus gave it. That would be an insult.

The meaning that God revealed to us through the prophet Isaiah is:

Isaiah 58: 6-12:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
 and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Such fasting is, of course, held in high regard, is equal to unceasing prayer, and they both together keep God in the temple of the body and expel the devils.

3. About the eternal treasures.

The third teaching Jesus gives us is this: "Have treasures in Heaven."

The mind without mercy is an extinguished torch. But when the dawn appears in the soul, we will realize that our live, which has been lived only in an earthly way, is a voyage in vain and we cannot defend our treasures. So naturally we will give them away willingly. Only giving them away willingly can we change their value and move it where no one can steal it. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

But truly the treasure, more valuable than the world, is the very person of Jesus, Who becomes not only our contemporary in time, but also the soul of our soul. He becomes both our life and our mind. Then, so say the Scriptures and the Fathers: "Therefore let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2: 5).

Excerpt from: Father Arsenie Boca - "Living words", Charisma Publishers, Deva, 2006, pp. 38-43.



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