1 Corinthians 4: 1-5
Luke 5: 33-39
In today’s gospel the Pharisees and the scribes judge the disciples of Jesus by a general standard of fasting discipline. Referring to the wedding feast scenario Jesus says that fasting is inappropriate when the bridegroom is with the wedding guest. Now, let us remember that this accusation comes during a festal meal hosted by Levi, a tax collector who decided to follow Jesus. It wasn’t relevant to have a provoking discussion on fasting during a great festal meal.
Just like a new piece of cloth is inappropriate on the old cloth; just like new wine is inappropriate in the old wine skin; the question of fasting is inappropriate at the festal meal. Here Jesus does not underscore the value of fasting. He only remarks on the inappropriateness of the topic raised. However Jesus metaphorically says that when the bridegroom is taken away his disciples will fast.
In my meditation Jesus is the bridegroom. When we come to realize how far we are from the bridegroom (Jesus); when we come to know how empty we are without the bridegroom (Jesus); when we come to feel how desperate we are in the absence of the bridegroom (Jesus); we are in the appropriate time to fast. Many saints, including our founder, have used fasting as a means to find the Lord. However the ultimate question would be: Do we have the bridegroom (Jesus) with us? In one way we can never be separated from the bridegroom however, we could be blind to the presence of the bridegroom like the Pharisees and Scribes.
Prayer: Lord help us to see you without judging and to find you without delaying. Our hearts long for you Lord.
Fr. Justin Durai Raj CP is a member of the Passionist community at St. Joseph’s, Hobart.