Gospel – Matthew 9:14-15
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
The Gospel of the Lord
The Mass intention is for The Homeless
Lord Jesus, you used a lovely image for your time with us: a honeymoon period, a week when the bride and groom kept open house and relished the joy of new love. To be with you then was to know that the world is young and full of hope, while realising that the honeymoon joy will not last forever.
In the message of Jesus we find always the contrasts between the joy of his presence and friendship with us, the pain that he suffers in bringing his mission forward and our frustration that this mission of God is not completed in the world. In our prayer we are sometimes filled with thanks and joy for the fullness of God’s life; at other times with emptiness and hollowness at our poor response to God and to the evil of the world. Both fill our times of prayer; both are part of the relationship we have with God.
No matter what mystery of Jesus’ life we go to in prayer, we can rejoice,. Even in his suffering and death, he is with us, and we do not mourn. Without his presence in our lives, we would truly mourn the loss of something and Someone really relevant and essential to our lives. Prayer focuses on the place of Jesus in our lives.
Matthew understands fasting to be a sign of mourning. Jesus compares his disciples to wedding guests who rejoice while he, the bridegroom, is still with them. But after he leaves them they will experience many tribulations and therefore they will have good reasons for fasting. The fasts in question were most likely private fasts undertaken for devotional purposes.
The disciples of John compared their religious observation to that of Jesus and his followers. Do I sometimes contrast my practice with that of others? Am I drawn either to pride or to despair? Lent calls me to walk humbly with God in company with and in prayer for others.
- How do you feel when you go to Jesus in prayer?
- Are you filled with Joy or Fear?
- How do you engage with Jesus and listen to the calmness of his voice or has fear gripped you?
- If I put some things aside or give some things up for Lent, it is so that I can be more clearly in the presence of the bridegroom who rejoices in my company.