The Holy Gospel according to Matthew (9:14-15).
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.”
Reflection: Today’s Gospel is a very short one, only 2 verses. During the time of Jesus, fasting indicated mourning. In essence, Jesus answered them that it would not be fitting for the disciples too fast while he is with them. Fast forward to the present. We have just begun our Lenten journey. As we heard in the Gospel for Ash Wednesday, we are to give alms, pray and fast to help us spiritually on our Lenten journey. Let’s concentrate on fasting. What exactly is fasting? It is a temporary renunciation of something that is intrinsically good, like food, in order to intensify our expression of need for something greater, which is God, and God’s work in our lives. Fasting is also about growing in self-mastery, saying “No” to those things that keep us from being in relationship with each other and with our Lord, especially sin and evil. Fasting is also about “giving things up” like legitimate pleasures, like TV, social media and other things. But Lent is about taking our “fasting” further. I found this on the internet and I thought I would share it with you. Here are some other things we can “fast from” and “feast on.”
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from criticism; feast on praise.
Fast from self-pity; feast on joy.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from jealousy; feast on love.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from selfishness; feast on service.
Fast from fear; feast on faith.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
At the beginning of our Lenten journey, we are invited to reflect on our Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These spiritual practices help us to build up the kingdom of heaven here and now, and to get closer to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Remember, Lent is a journey that moves us toward the cross. What are those things in our life that keep us from being the best version of ourselves, from being in relationship with each other and our Lord, and saying “Yes” too God’s will in our life? May we “fast” from those things.