A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel
Liturgic day: Friday after Ash Wednesday
Gospel text (Mt 9,14-15): The disciples of John came to Jesus with the question, «How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not your disciples?». Jesus answered them, «How can you expect the wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast».
Comment: Fr. Xavier PAGÉS i Castañer (Barcelona, Spain)
Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast
Today the first Friday of Lent, having experienced the fasting and abstinence of Ash Wednesday, we have attempted to offer our fasting and the prayer of the Holy Rosary, for the Peace, that our World needs so badly. We are willing to take care of this Lenten exercise, our Church, Mother and Teacher, is asking us to abide by, and to remember it was the same Lord who said: «Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast» (Mt 9:15). We have the desire to experience it, not just as the fulfillment of an obligation which is mandatory for us, but —most of all— as the possibility to find the spirit which will let us live this Lenten practice while helping us in our spiritual improvement.
By seeking this deep feeling, we can ask ourselves: which is the true fasting? Already, prophet Isaiah, in today's first reading, tells us which is the fasting God appreciates: «Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard» (Is 58:7-8). God likes and expects from us whatever is taking us towards a true love for all our brothers.
Every year, the Holy Father John Paul II wrote us a message for Lent. One of these messages, under the motto «There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving» (Acts 20:35); helped us to discover the very same charitable dimension of our fasting, which, from the bottom of our heart, allows us to prepare for Easter Time, in an effort to identify ourselves, more and more, with Christ's love which took him to die in the Cross for us. In short, «what every Christian ought to do all the time, he ought to do it now more carefully and more devotedly» (Saint Leo the Great, pope).