Friday after Ash Wednesday, Day of abstinence from meat (age 14 and up)
First Reading: Isaiah 58: 1-9a
1 Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 For they seek me from day to day, sad desire to know my ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God.
3 Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors.
4 Behold you fast for debates and strife. and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high.
5 Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden.
7 Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh.
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profiteth not.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19
3 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
4 Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
5 For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
6 To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
18 For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
19 A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Gospel: Matthew 9: 14-15
14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying: Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but thy disciples do not fast?
15 And Jesus said to them: Can the children of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast.