Daily Gospel Reflection: Friday after Ash Wednesday

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Daily Gospel Reflection: Friday after Ash Wednesday

Bishop Robert Barron 
February 16, 2024 
Friday after Ash Wednesday 

Gospel: Mt 9:14-15 

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.” 
*United States Conference of Catholic 

Bishop Robert Barron 

Friends, in today’s Gospel, people ask Jesus why his disciples do not fast. He says that as wedding guests, they will not fast while he, the Bridegroom, is with them. But “the days will come,” he says, “when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” 

Why do we fast? Because we have a hunger for God, which is the deepest hunger. We’re meant to get access to that hunger. We’re meant to feel it so that it can direct us toward God. Every spiritual master recognizes the danger that if we allow the superficial hunger of our lives to dominate, we never reach the deepest hunger.

Thomas Merton once observed that our desires for food and drink are something like little children in their persistence and tendency to dominate. Unless and until they are disciplined, they will skew the functions of the soul according to their purposes. 

And fasting is a way of disciplining the hunger for food and drink. It is a way of quieting those desires by not responding to them immediately, so that the deepest desires emerge. Unless you fast, you might never realize how hungry you are for God.

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