Well, I wrote this almost a month ago. But, it’s Easter this weekend, so I figured this somewhat applies to the moment.
So, today is Ash Wednesday. To be honest, I was actually unaware of this until my little sister texted me and asked if I was giving anything up. I’m not. According to Catholic Online,
“Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.”
For Lent, many Christians give up a part of their normal life in order to reflect the sacrifice Christ made when going to the cross for the world’s sins. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, these people also do not eat meat.
American Catholic’s website states that
“In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.”
The website goes on to say
“The obligation to do penance is a serious one; the obligation to observe, as a whole or ‘substantially,’ the days of penance is also serious.”
So, many Christians (or at least Catholics) are required by their faith to give up meat on certain days throughout Lent.
I was raised Catholic, and I never refrained from eating meat on any of those days throughout my childhood. Does this mean God is mad at me? Or, because of my eating habits on these “Holy” days, does God not care about me? Absolutely not! That is truly and utterly ridiculous. Ephesians 2:8, 9 reads
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Thus, God does not judge us based on our deeds. Instead, the only way we can come to know Him is by simply accepting His free gift of life. If you want this eternal life, all you have to do is pray for Jesus’ death on the cross to apply to you. That’s all, it’s so simple!
While Christian’s everywhere are giving up meat today, I (a vegetarian) considered eating meat. I have not eaten meat in two years, but it almost seemed right to eat meat today in order to prove a point (I decided to write this instead, though). It does not matter what we eat, it does not matter what we do, the only thing that matters is if we accept God’s free gift or not. James 2:10 says that
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.”
We can go on trying to impress God, but like Kobe Bryant showcasing his basketball skills to a blind man, our efforts will be futile.
Now, I am not attempting to bash everyone who follows these regulations during Lent. I understand that for some, it may help their relationship with God. Romans 14:2-3 says
“One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”
Still, I think the whole idea of Lent and giving up certain foods/habits reflects the Christian message negatively. Instead of focusing on these arbitrary rules, Christians should relay God’s message of love to the rest of the world. Romans 13: 10 proves that God (through his grace) simply wants us to love one another rather than focus on works (like fasting),
“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”