Today's Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
Yes it is Lent, but that doesn't mean you have to be sad.
Lent is known as a time for sacrifice. We fast and pray and give alms. As a Friday, we make special sacrifices today in memory of Good Friday, the day of Jesus' passion and death on the cross.
The question is, however, why do we fast? Why do we give something up for Lent? More importantly, why do YOU give something up for Lent?
In the reading today, the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees see Jesus' disciples feasting when they should be fasting. "Should be" is a key element of their perspective. You see, during Lent, we often take on a militant practice of giving something up or not eating meat on Fridays. We beat ourselves up for making mistakes and giving in to our urge not to maintain our Lenten commitments. This made us sad and guilty. We "should be" better at giving something up.
We might want to ask Jesus a similar question that his critics ask in this Scripture passage: Why do your disciples fast?
His answer is something that we all to often forget. Fasting and feasting are meaningless if they are not done in reference to our relationship with Christ. The disciples feast because the bridegroom is there. They will fast when he is gone. Neither is done because of some sense of duty or hard work. They do it because of Christ.
That is how we should view our Lenten fast. We must not lose sight of the reason for the season, Jesus Christ.
What did you decide to fast from during this season of Lent? How can you make sure that you never forget Jesus and his love for you every time you choose to abstain?
Lord Jesus, out of your great love for us you suffered and died on the cross so that we could receive your infinite grace. May we have the strength this Lent to love you back unconditionally, and may our sacrifices always be done in your name.
Copyright 2016 Jared Dees
Jared Dees is the creator of the popular website The Religion Teacher, which provides practical resources and effective teaching strategies to religious educators. He is the digital marketing manager at Ave Maria Press and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator and To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach. He lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife and three children.