The prophet Isaiah tells us that God wants a fast which involves 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 (Isaiah 58:6-7, NAB). Almsgiving or service is an essential Lenten practice.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States emphasize that our faith calls us to work for justice; to serve those in need; to pursue peace; and to defend the life, dignity, and rights of all our sisters and brothers. This is the call of Jesus, the challenge of the prophets, and the living tradition of our Church. (A Century of Social Teaching. A Pastoral Message of Catholic Bishops of the United States. November 1990)
Lent is a time for repentance and action. We are called to service those in need and use our wealth, gifts, time, and talents to create a world that mirrors the vision that Jesus proclaimed.