Readings (Friday After Ash Wednesday)

First Reading
Is 58:1-9a

Is this the manner of fasting I wish?

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
   lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
   and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
   and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
   and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
   pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
   afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?”

Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
   and drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting,
   striking with wicked claw.
Would that today you might fast
   so as to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
   of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
   and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
   a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
   releasing those bound unjustly,
   untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
   breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
   sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
   and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
   and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
   you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19

R. :

R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
   in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
   and of my sin cleanse me.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

For I acknowledge my offense,
   and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
   and done what is evil in your sight.”

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
   should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
   a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Gospel Acclamation
See Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

Mt 9:14-15 

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

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
   “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
   but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
   as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
   and then they will fast.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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