The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) reminds us that fasting helps us encounter those things about ourselves that prevent us from loving God and neighbor.
How does the Parable of the Good Samaritan point to fasting? In this story, we see the Good Samaritan quite literally giving something up—his own, hard-earned money. The question then, of course, is this: How does this giving up of something make room for the needs of another in our life? How does fasting become something that is focused on and oriented towards others? Again, the parable shows us the way. What the Good Samaritan gives up immediately goes to meet the needs of another.
We can easily reflect on how we might have otherwise spent two silver coins: a cup of coffee, a meal out, etc. Do we follow the Good Samaritan’s example in our own fasting? The Good Samaritan pledges to return and promises that if the innkeeper spends more than those two coins, the Samaritan will be sure to reimburse him. That’s an act of fasting that is offered freely, without counting the cost.
How can we commit our Lenten fasts to make room for those in need in our lives—and in our world? How can our Lenten fasts remove the walls that separate us from our neighbors—and God?
Eric Clayton works at Catholic Relief Services. He holds an MA in international media from American University and a BA in international studies and creative writing from Fairfield University. He currently lives in Baltimore with his wife, daughter, and pet hedgehog.