We Fast in Order to Feast

Wedding banquets don’t usually come to mind when we fast during Lent; I’ve never seen fish sticks served at a reception, and I’ve been to more than a few!

Nevertheless, when Jesus was challenged about fasting in today’s gospel, he responded by calling himself a bridegroom, and by referring to us, his friends, as his wedding guests. Jesus was saying that our relationship with him, in many ways, is like a joyful wedding feast.

Jesus wants us to keep this joy in mind as we approach the discipline of fasting. We fast during Lent, not primarily to lose weight, not because it’s a Catholic cultural badge, and not because we need to prove our holiness to God or anyone else. As Catholics, we fast- from food or from anything else that can become a compulsion in our life- to help us grow in freedom, and thus bring us a little bit closer to Jesus. And anytime we grow a little bit closer to our Lord, the result is always joy. You might say, then, that we fast in order to feast- feast upon the new and abundant life that Jesus wishes to pour out on us, during this special season of grace.

Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/031111.shtml

Photo courtesy of Renata Grzan/RenataPhotography.com Used with permission.

(Pictured is Archdiocese of Washington colleague Julia Chandler’s recent wedding reception. No fish sticks were served.)