Mark 2:18-22 – The Question about Fasting
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
I was going to focus on the latter part of this passage throughout the day today until my wife and I went to the Cincinnati Opera tonight and I saw this mural. The mural is a collection of faces of people and characters from the performing arts singing and celebrating and I knew that was the image for today. The initial question Jesus is confronted with is about why Jesus’ disciples were not fasting and were not “down” (at least I read it). Jesus’ response? He’s with them – why fast then? Why fast when the celebration is taking place? Shouldn’t we join in the celebration? I believe I wrote something similarly to this recently, but too often we are far too dour in our faith…far too serious. Instead, we are called to be a people of joy and life. Thomas Merton once said that the reason we don’t experience the joy of the faith is that we take ourselves far too seriously. So, in that spirit, we have the Nutcracker, Grover, the Phantom, Elton John, and more than a few others singing and celebrating. Let’s join in the celebration!