Faith Daily | 24 February 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p481
Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made,
and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we, worthily lamenting our sins,
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may obtain of you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 9: 14-15
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ 15And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Alison Dorman
We can almost hear John’s disciples, like children, saying, ‘It’s not fair!! They don’t have to do it, why should we?” Or were they simply asking for an explanation of Jesus’ teaching? Fasting shows self control and is a symbol of mourning. Was Jesus saying that the inner hunger and mourning was for a God who was already with them, so that rejoicing was the appropriate response? The time for mourning would come when he was taken away from them.
Likewise for us, our response to the presence of God in our lives, and of the close relationship and friendship we enjoy, needs to be one of joy. We mourn with Jesus the suffering in the World and of our always inadequate response to it. We know, however, that we are loved and accepted and that God is ALWAYS with us whether we recognise it or not. Lent calls me to walk humbly with God in company with and in prayer for others, especially for those in need or are suffering. Each of us has our own path to walk with Jesus. We should not expect others to walk the same path as we do or vice versa. The Holy Spirit guides us in the path we need to take for our own lives. Guilt or comparison with others is not helpful to anyone.
In our prayer, we are sometimes filled with thankfulness and joy for the fullness of life in God’s presence; at other times with emptiness and hollowness at our poor response to God and our response to the evil in the World. Both are needed.
Lord, this Lent let me feast with gratitude for your merciful Love, and let me fast from oppressive thoughts and behaviour towards those around me and people who are different from me. May my prayer and my fasting reveal my inner hunger for you.