Daily Reflection – 3/8/19
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.” (Matthew 9:14-15)
So what is the significance of fasting on Friday? Friday is the day our Bridegroom was ‘taken away’ from us, and we don’t ever want to forget it. In fulfillment of Jesus’ words—“then they will fast”—we deny ourselves and remember the passion of the Bridegroom God of Israel, who loved us so much that he not only became man, but mounted the wood of the cross in order to save humanity from sin and be united to us in love. In the book, “Jesus of Nazareth”, it is written:“In [Jesus] in an unexpected way, God and man become one, become a ‘marriage’, though this marriage—as Jesus subsequently points out—passes through the Cross, through the ‘taking away’ of the bridegroom.
From this perspective, our Friday fasting and penances should not just be acts of self-denial, but sacrifices given out of love, just as the Bridegroom sacrificed himself out of love for us. We fast in memory of the one who ‘loved us and gave himself for us’ (cf. Galatians 2:20).
Although many a man throughout history has compared his wedding day to his funeral; Jesus of Nazareth is the only man who ever compared his funeral to his wedding day. That is because he was no ordinary man; he was the Bridegroom God of Israel come in the flesh in to save his Bride. And his life and death on the Cross were nothing less than the center of the divine love story that is the real meaning of human history. Why else does the Bible begin with the wedding of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3) and end with the Wedding of Christ in the Church in the Book of Revelation (Rev 19-22)?!
On every Friday during Lent—especially Good Friday—we, his disciples remember his words about the passion—“they will fast on that day.” In this way, we can truly prepare ourselves for the great Feast of Easter, when we will celebrate the Resurrection of the Bridegroom who gives himself to his Bride in every Eucharist as a foretaste of heaven—of the eternal “Wedding Supper of the Lamb”
Prayer of The Day
Almighty and tender Shepherd, I thank you for loving me so much that you hear my prayers. I believe that Jesus’ presence means joy for my life. But I also recognize that I live between his two appearances on earth, and thus the joy is not as great as it was when he was here and far less than it will be when he returns. Give me strength, courage, and joy so that I can face the challenges of this waiting time with faithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
The hunger we experience when we fast is a symbol of the deeper spiritual hunger we should feel for God and for heaven. This world often makes us all too comfortable, and we easily forget that this is not our true home. We are pilgrims traveling through a foreign land, far from our final resting place. Fasting reminds us of the longing a traveler has to reach his destination safely and finally to rejoice in being home for good. The true Christian looks forward with hope toward heaven, where he will rest with God forever in true happiness. He knows that all the good things this world offers are only shadows of the wonderful things God has planned for those who love him.