Fasting & Feasting: Towards A Change of Heart
The "good old" Scribes and Pharisees: today’s Gospel continues the saga of their confronting Jesus with their legalistic formalism…and so little heart! "Your disciples don’t fast and pray…yours eat and drink." For them it was more important to follow minute regulations than it was to help a neighbor in distress. Law itself had basically replaced the Lawgiver!
Jesus met this issue head on and wanted to show that love is the essence of religion and that regulations are valid only if God’s purposes are served. He asked more of his disciples: to follow his example, and love God with one’s whole being and to love one’s neighbor as He did — a much more demanding life response than a fasting from food! A new cloak…a new batch of wine…
As contemporary disciples, we are all asked to think outside the box. We’ve moved beyond our Baltimore Catechism days; the Second Vatican Council has opened the "windows" of the Church. The Spirit is alive in our midst: the Church is a community of believers! Our liturgical prayer invites and requires our full and active participation! Our Baptism calls everyone to a life-long discipleship / involvement in the Church, in line with their particular vocation! It’s more than what you do (or don’t) eat or drink.
No doubt we seek to grow day by day; we need God to open our hearts in both our fasting and feasting – to help us change and grow. As members of the Passionist family, we ponder our lives and that of our world. What are our values in life? What value do we place in today’s quest for power, or money, or material goods, or popularity? How do we "love"?
May God open wide our eyes and our hearts, to see the treasure of our faith, the blessings and hard realities of daily life, and the Life and Goodness that is ours in Him. Together, we give thanks to God, and bless His name! God’s kindness and faithfulness reaches out to us all!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.