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."
In today's Gospel we see the Pharisees are fasting. This is because they do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and they do not believe the Messiah is among them. But the disciples on the other hand, do not need to fast because Jesus himself is present to them, just as the bridegroom at the wedding feast. Because they believe, they celebrate with joy.
So why do we fast during Lent?
Lent is a time of sacrifice and conversion, a time for us to recognize our faults and the reality that we are all sinners, but Christ came and died so that we may have life. Fasting is a way for us to commemorate Christ's crucifixion and the sacrifice He made for us.
Fasting is a biblical discipline that traces back to the Old Testament. In Daniel 10:2-3, we read, "In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks." We give up certain things we enjoy during Lent, or abstain from eating meat on Fridays as a way to sacrifice our comforts for a higher purpose. This could be anything from giving up watching your favorite TV show, to abstaining from your usual morning cup of coffee. When we do theses things and offer up these sacrifices to God, we will be filled with His grace and peace. In the sacrifice we feel alive and are become more closely united to Him.
What are you fasting from this Lent?
Today, chose one thing that you are going to give up or fast from this Lent. Challenge yourself to make small sacrifices each day. This will help you to recognize what Christ endured out of love for you so that you may have eternal life with Him in Heaven.
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