My reflection is from “The Little Black Book”:
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, “Why did the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?￼” (Mark 2:18)
This weeks reflection takes place toward the beginning of Mark’s Gospel.
Jesus has already been doing some astonishing things￼. He began by announcing that something new is afoot￼-the reign of God is at hand.￼ Then he begins to express in action what the reign of God means. In the synagogue, he cures a man with an unclean spirit. He leaves there, goes to Peter‘s house, and cures his mother-in-law. Before long, the whole town is at the door as he cures the sick and drives out demons.￼
But now people complain that his disciples don’t do the extra fast that the Pharisees and John the Baptist disciples do.
For Jesus, fasting was never an end in itself. It always had to have meaning. There was a time and a place for fasting – it was not simply an external observance to be followed automatically.
That is why Jesus told the parable of a wedding feast. There is a time to celebrate and a time to fast. A wedding feast is not a time for fasting.
Fasting does have a place in my life. It is a Christian tradition dating back to Jesus himself. And my fasting has to have meaning – it’s never an end in itself as though suffering were something good.
Why do I choose – or not choose – to fast this lent?