When the bridegroom is taken away

Published February 19, 2021, 12:49 AM

by Manila Bulletin


The disciples of John the Baptist are scandalized that while they and the Pharisees fast much, Jesus’ disciples do not. Jesus’ disciples certainly fast, but only on prescribed days. Some Jews, like the  Pharisees, fast (on Mondays and Thursdays) as a sign  of devotion and asceticism—and are esteemed for it. The cultic law of Israel prescribes a day of fasting intended to move God to forgive the sins of his people. It is called Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. People refer to it simply as “the fast day.”

When Jesus’ disciples are observed not to be fasting, it means that Jesus does not emphasize fasting among his followers. He compares himself to a bridegroom and his followers to the wedding guests. With his presence, God’s salvation, often symbolized as a wedding feast, is at work. But time will come when he will be taken away from them, and at that time they will fast. Jesus refers to his passion and death during Holy Week which is prepared for at Lenten season. The believers fast in solidarity with the suffering Lord.

Gospel • MATTHEW 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

 SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.