“But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.”

Jesus addresses those who object to His followers not fasting unlike the practice of John’ s followers and the Pharisees (Mk 2:18-22).  Jesus likens His disciples to wedding guests and Himself as the bridegroom — they cannot fast when with Him but will do so when He is gone (see above).  He uses analogies of patching old clothes and wineskins with new materials to illustrate His point.  We know that the Lord has made good on His promise to be with us always, especially in the Eucharist.  Yet, based on the current state of society, it is not that Jesus has been “taken away” but that He has been driven away.  This should cause us then to reflect on our own relationship with God and neighbor: How might we be distancing ourselves from the Lord through sin and distraction and how does this contribute to the decline of society?  We can rightfully lament the paganization and immorality of the culture; but what have we done to contribute to it and what are we doing to convert it?  This conversion starts with us as we pray for the graces to overcome those things that inhibit our full acceptance of grace or separate us from grace entirely.  But an additional  very effective tool recommended by Scripture (Old and New Testaments) is what Jesus talks about in today’s gospel: fasting.  Jesus Himself prepared for the challenges of public ministry by conducting a forty day fast (Mt 4:2).   Should we not also make this part of our lives as we meet personal and societal challenges?  Let us fast and pray that Jesus is fully welcomed into our lives and the life of society.

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