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
Hungering for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand. When asked why he and his disciples did not fast, Jesus used the story of a wedding feast to illustrate the nature of his relationship with his disciples. He considered himself as the bridegroom and the disciples as his friends celebrating in the feast. He alludes how God takes delight in his people and experiencing God’s presence is pure joy and happiness. But Jesus also mentions to his followers that there is a time to rejoice in the Lord’s goodness and a time to seek Him with humility, fasting, and mourning for a sin.
Lent is a somber time for remembering and reflection. Quite the opposite is true of birthdays. It has been over a year since my husband’s grandmother passed away. The feeling of happiness when remembering her and somberness of recalling her illness and death would commingle in this Lenten season. For many months, it seemed as if there was no illness at all. Our visits were punctuated by joyous laughter in celebrating her life. It was not until late October 2011, where we received a phone call from our cousin and left to Toronto immediately to be by her side. The sleepless nights weakened our energy and we found ourselves leaning and resting in God’s trust through prayer. Our conversations became more focused on what was most important in each of our lives.
On every Friday of Lent, we abstain from meat as a sign of common penance. It is a way of marking the memory of Jesus and creating space in ourselves to focus on Him. When we set aside our cravings to concentrate on prayer, we are seeking God with all our heart...humbling and weakening ourselves before Him and leaning on His strength. Fasting, however, is not just food. It could be anything to grow in our hunger for God. True fasting will lead us into acting justly and caring for those who are most in need.
Do I seek the Lord with confident trust and allow his Holy Spirit to transform my life?
Lord, help me to use your love as a way to persevere in my Lenten intentions and draw closer to you...
reflected by Tam Lontok
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