Ho 2:16-17,21-222; Cor 3:1-6; Mk 2:18-22
“Why the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (v.18b).
One time, two bird hunters were hunting birds in the forest in order to make business out of their hunted birds. They sold the birds. But since the birds were skinny, they fed them first and let them grew bigger and bigger until the time that they sold them at reasonable prices. But one bird refused to eat. As the other birds got fat, this bird got thinner and thinner, and it still struggled to get out from the cage.
On the day the hunters took the birds to the market, the bird who refused to eat had become so thin that by a mighty struggle, it managed to squeeze through the cage and flew away. It alone was free while the others who ate with too much gusto were sold and eaten by people.
This story has something to do or has similarity with fasting by which we deprive or deny ourselves of the food that we want to eat and even of sexual relations among married couples for one or more days, from one sunset to the next for a particular purpose.
Fasting is the topic that few Catholics nowadays know much about. It is the topic that we don’t want to talk about may be because we don’t want to do it. Today, even Christians of other religions find it difficult to appreciate its value. We have so many reasons not to do this fasting. And yet we do it only twice a year, that is during Ash Wednesday and Good Friday with one full meal and slight merienda (snacks). As to the age, it is between sixteen and sixty years old.
Fasting is a form of self-denial or a form of sacrifice. It is a denial of the self for food and drink or other pleasure of the flesh. There are several reasons why we should fast. Some of them could be: first, Christ our founder fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert after His baptism and before He went for His missionary work. Second, we deny ourselves of the things we want for the sake of discipline, to be certain that we are the master of them and not they of us, to make sure that we never grow to love them so well that we cannot give them up. We might deny ourselves comforts and pleasant things so that after self-denial we might appreciate them all the more.
One of the best ways to learn to value our homes is to have to stay away from home for a time being; and one of the best ways to appreciate God’s gifts is to do without them for a period of time. We are doing fasting in order for us not to be spoiled persons. Look at a spoiled brat, you cannot control him, you cannot discipline him. He gets what he wants. Actually, the saints are those people who follow the law of the church strictly, religiously and faithfully.
Fasting is not to be confused with dieting. We diet to please our doctor or to preserve our figure so that we can wear the clothes we like most. We fast religiously because we want to serve God better by sharing the better things we want with other people.
Hw does fasting help us serve God? There are lots of ways, and some of them could be: first, eating whenever and whatever we please makes us flabby not spiritually but physically. Our body is so healthy but our soul and spirit are undernourished and very thin. We eat immediately without even making the sign of the cross. So do something to make our soul healthy and fasting is one way to make it. Second, cutting down on food is a way of proving, at least to ourselves, that we take our religion seriously, that we put God first. Just like when we pray. When we talk to God regularly through prayer, we take God seriously and religiously. Lastly, by fasting we surrender a finite pleasure we like for the sake of the infinite God we love. God is above all things and above all people. He is above our parents, wealth, friends, loved ones and others. When God calls us to be like doing fasting, we don’t have the reason not to give our wholehearted yes! to Him. Yes to God and everything will be fine.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B
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