I was once invited to say Mass at a convent and to have breakfast after. I noticed that the Sisters were not eating at all, so I asked why, and I was told they were fasting that day, as in some other days in Lent. There I was, enjoying my meal, even served my favorite dried fish, when I remembered what Jesus said in the Gospel and said to the Sisters: “How can you fast when the bridegroom is still here?” We all laughed but perhaps caught a glimpse at Jesus’ statement I just paraphrased.
Indeed, how incompatible it is when a joyful occasion is accompanied by a contrary action and spirit. Jesus comes to bring Good News, joy, and salvation, but people do not sense it and remain “mourning” or “fasting.” Pope Francis insists on proclaiming the joy of the Gospel because Jesus brings joy and so must we. There are surely occasions for mourning and fasting, but not when “the groom is still with us.”
Are we bearers of joy to people around us? If not, what is it that prevents us from celebrating the presence of Jesus among us?
Gospel • 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.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.