Gospel: Mt 9:14-15
John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of mourning as long as the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’
Fasting teaches us patience and self-control. When we review our experience of fasting in prayer, we begin to also understand the plight of the poor, and grow to consider more frequently and compassionately the needs of others.
Fasting then takes on a deeper purpose of bringing about a transformation of our hearts to make us better imitators of Christ; it is not a religious practice for self-glorification, nor is it a thoughtless fulfilment of a duty. It must ultimately manifest in our relationship with others and in our active response to their needs as in our first reading today (Isaiah 58:1-9).
Why do you fast, give alms and do penance? Do your Lenten observances give life and meaning to another?