Friday, February 28, 2020

Gospel Reflection: Maintaining the fast beyond Lent [02.28.20 - Matthew 9:14-15]

' Then the disciples of John approached him 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. '
Matthew 9:14-15

The Scriptures of today both talk about fasting.  In Isaiah 58:1-9, discusses fasting in anticipation.  We as Christians believe in the Resurrection of our Lord.  Our 40-day fast is following the example of Jesus fasting in the desert.  But rather than His fast be before a great battle where your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw, it was instead before He began His ministry in which he would release those bound unjustly... [Set] free the oppressed... [Share His] bread with the hungry, [shelter] the oppressed and the homeless.

However, in the Gospel, Jesus' apostles question why they and the Pharisees fast so much while the other disciples hardly fast at all.  Jesus answers it's because He is still with them.  There is nothing to anticipate for them because He is there.  But when He is no longer among them is when His disciples will fast.

The question is, why is it only when we feel we need God do we actually take the time to fast, to pray?  When we are in desperation or in a horrible situation is when we turn to God, praying and asking for His help.  That is when we cry out the loudest.  Why can we not cry out just as loud in thanksgiving for the day to day things?  Our gratitude should be for all His blessings both big and small.  We take so much for granted and only when we lose it do we realize it's value.

Many of us remain disciplined throughout Lent, but as soon as Easter rolls around we go back to our old ways.  What, then, was the point of cleansing ourselves from whatever it was that we gave up for 40 days only to go back to it?  Why can we not maintain the same discipline?