St. Perpetua and Felicity

(Day of abstinence from meat–age 14 and up).

Matthew 9: 14-15

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved  

Feasting and Fasting

Okay, Jesus, I’m a bit confused. Aren’t we supposed to fast during Lent? The disciples of John pose a similar question in today’s Gospel. Being accustomed to fasting as a devotion to God, they wondered why Jesus didn’t require the same discipline from his disciples. And, knowing that his death is imminent, Jesus makes it clear that there’s a time to feast and a time to fast.

Jesus desires that we be present in the moment, finding joy and realizing Christ in our midst. By believing in him, suffering will occur and fasting will follow, but until then we as disciples of Christ should seek his presence and celebrate.

As our Lenten journey begins, it must consist of both feasting and fasting – celebrating and finding God in all things, and coming to our God with humble hearts to acknowledge when we are not the people God created us to be.

How can your Lenten fasting lead you to a fuller celebration, a fuller feasting, in the Resurrection of our Lord?

—Catherine M. Mifsud, MA is a member of the faculty of St. Mary’s Dominican High School in New Orleans, where she teaches Theology. Catherine volunteers her time both on the Diocese of Baton Rouge Charis Retreat Leadership Team and for the Archdiocese of New Orleans Charis Team.


Lord, who throughout these forty days, for us did fast and pray. Teach us to overcome our sins and close by you to stay.

As you did hunger and did thirst, so teach us gracious Lord, to die to self and so to live by your most holy word.

—Traditional Lenten hymn, text by Claudia F. Hermann (1838-1898)