Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:14-15

Do you want to be free?  Do you want to discover true liberty in your life? Most certainly you do.  But what does that mean?  And how can you obtain it? Liberty is what we are made for.  We are made to be free to live life to the fullest experience the unfathomable joys and blessings God desires to bestow upon us.  But all too often we have a misconception of what true freedom is all about.  Freedom, more than anything else, is an experience of the joy of having the Bridegroom with us.  It is the joy of the wedding feast of the Lord.  We were made to celebrate our unity with Him for eternity.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus clearly states that the wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them.  However, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” It is helpful to look at the relationship between fasting and freedom.  At first, this may seem like a strange combination.  But if fasting is properly understood, it will be seen as pathway to the glorious gift of true freedom. 

There are times in our lives when “the Bridegroom is taken away.”  This can mean many things.  One thing it particularly refers to is the time when we experience a sense of the loss of Christ in our lives.  This can certainly come as a result of our own sin, but it can also come as a result of us growing closer to Christ.  In the first case, fasting can help free us from the many sinful attachments we have in life.  Fasting has the potential to strengthen our will and purify our desires. In the second case, there are times when we are growing very close to Christ and, as a result, He hides His presence from our lives.  This may seem strange at first but it is done so that we will seek Him all the more.  In this case also, fasting can become a means of deepening our faith and commitment to Him. Fasting can take on many forms, but, at the heart, it is simply an act of self-denial and self-sacrifice for God. It helps us overcome earthly and fleshly desires so that our spirits can fully desire Christ.

Reflect today, on how deeply you desire Christ in your life.  If you see that there are other competing desires that tend to drown out Christ, consider acts of fasting and other forms of self-denial.  Make them small sacrifices for God and you will see the good fruit they produce.

MASS: VIOLET:  Num 24:2-7, 15-17a; Ps 25:4-5ab,6 and 7cd, 8-9(R.4b); Accl: Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation; Gospel Matt. 21:23-27

Prayer Points:

               1.            Lord, I desire You in my life above all things.  Help me to see the things that compete for Your love and to offer sacrifice so that my soul can be purified and live in the freedom You desire for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

               2.            Pray for the success of 2022 21-day fasting and prayer.

Exercise: Spend some quality time before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament or any other convenient place.

Meditation: Psalm 32:7-8