First Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself.
4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.
5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 37:3-6, 27-28, 39-40
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; so shall you abide for ever.
28 For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. The righteous shall be preserved for ever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Gospel: Luke 5:33-39
33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
35 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
36 He told them a parable also: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it upon an old garment; if he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old.
37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.
38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.
39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new; for he says, `The old is good.'”
And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” –Luke 5:34-35 (ESV)
Feasting and fasting are part of our Christian heritage. But do we? Do we fast so we can feast and feast so we can fast? Or is every day just ordinary?
As Catholics, most of us probably observe the mandated fasting days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Hopefully we observe the Fridays of Lent as days of abstinence. Many of us don’t even realize that every Friday is a day of penance, but there it is, in Canon Law:
1. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
The confusion came about in the US in 1966, when the Bishops abrogated the requirement for all Catholics to abstain from eating meat on Fridays, and instead encouraged the faithful to make a sacrifice of their own choosing.
What that meant, practically, was that we mostly all started eating meat on Fridays and kinda forgot to do any other penance at all. I was raised Catholic, and I know it wasn’t something *I* ever heard growing up.
And that’s a shame.
Because remembering that Friday is the day Christ suffered and died for my sins, and yours, is a thing that binds us together as a Catholic family. Abstaining from meat, or making another sacrifice, is a thing that sets us apart a bit, in a good way.
And remembering the fasts helps us enjoy the feasts all the more.
There are two official days of fasting on the General Roman Calendar. There are two HUNDRED and two official feasts, solemnities, and memorials. Do you have a few favorite saints? Do you have a special meal or dessert to celebrate their feast days?
Jesus is reminding us to observe all things in their proper times. Every Friday is a day of penance, and every Sunday is a day of joy. Every Friday is a little Good Friday, and every Sunday is a little Easter Sunday. The liturgical calendar is bursting with reasons to celebrate our faith.
Will you remember that today is Friday and choose to abstain from meat? Or make another sacrifice? Will this Sunday be a day of rejoicing in your heart and in your home? Will you have a special meal? Will you sit down with family or friends? Maybe even use the good dishes? Will you have dessert to celebrate the sweetness of God’s love?
Kendra Tierney can be found tending nine chickens, seven children, and one husband in Los Angeles, CA. You can find out more about her here.