When Jesus is asked why the Pharisees and John’s disciples fast but His do not, He tells the disciples of John that they cannot fast while “the bridegroom is with them” but they will fast when He is gone (Mt 9:14-17).
It is true, of course, that Jesus is with us always, as He promised (Mt 28:20). In particular, He “stays with us” in the mode par excellence in the Blessed Sacrament (see Lk 24:29). We should visit Him there often and be properly disposed to receive Him at every Mass.
In recent posts I have touted the value of fasting. Jesus says right here, and elsewhere, that we are to fast — it is to be part of the Christian life. And while we know He is present always, it is not so obvious in our country and in our world when the moral fabric of society continues to be rent through so many sins, some enshrined in law, others by popular commission, against the dignity of all persons from conception until natural death. In far too many ways, Jesus continues to be “taken away” through our actions, including the threat to religious freedom that looms larger and larger in the US and is much more severe in many other nations.
So, I encourage you to fast and abstain for a return of our world to Christian values and for the conversion of souls. Skip a meal from time to time. Eliminate eating between meals occasionally or permanently. Make every Friday like Good Friday in demeanor and consumption. Turn off the TV and phone and devote additional time to prayer and Scripture and other spiritual reading. Make mini-Lents from time to time. We know from Christ’s own experience how such actions fight the devil and temptation (see Matt 4:1-11). The world benefits and we benefit personally.
John Ritto Penniman, Christ Tempted by the Devil (1818)
“Thy kingdom come”!