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The question about fasting



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.”



Can the wedding guests mourn? Through the image of a wedding feast Jesus underlines that His coming into the world signals a time of celebration and rejoicing, not unlike that of a wedding feast that proclaims the joy not just of the new couple but also of everyone dear to them. While it means that the spouses will no longer be able to live “independently,” the dominant mood is that of joy and rejoicing as a new family is being forged.

Jesus’ coming is like that; unfortunately, some do not see it this way. In fact, they question the way Jesus freely celebrates with sinners, while other leaders, like John or the scribes and Pharisees, put a premium on fasting. These people do not see that Jesus is the divine forgiveness and salvation whose advent they are trying to hasten by fasting. His coming calls for celebration, not mourning.

In emphasizing our being sinful, we often forget that Jesus has freed us from sin. As forgiveness is received, joy and celebration should pervade.

Are we so stuck in our sense of sinfulness that we fail to rejoice over the salvation Jesus has won for us?


SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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