Reading: Matthew 9: 14-15
John’s disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Why is 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.’
In this reflection, it is obvious that John’s disciples did not recognise who Jesus is. ‘John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel’ (Acts 13:24) and told them about the one who ‘is coming after me’ (Acts 13:25) Yet, they did not yet recognise who Jesus is and were weighing up all of His actions through a darkened lens. Their eyes had not yet been opened (Luke 24:31) to the presence of the saviour in their midst. They expected Jesus’s disciples to follow a ritual of fasting that was not relevant to them at that time. Jesus reminds them of the need to honour his presence in their midst; a time of suffering will follow but this is not the time to fast. They are to rejoice in his presence and live joyful lives.
There are times when I do not recognise Christ’s presence in the daily events of my life. I may be blind to him in my relationships or in my dealings with others. I may feel his absence in prayer or in my life circumstances and my inner world may be on a long, barren fast. Through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes to me and reminds me that he is with me. This may be through a word of encouragement, an unexpected act of kindness, or an insight into the word of God. I am reminded of my dependence on God and need to keep asking for the grace of the Holy Spirit to know that the bridegroom is with me and not to be afraid during these periods of darkness.
Prayer Fasting from all that draws me away from you, May you heals the blindness of my soul. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may joyfully ring out your name. Amen