14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
There will always be resistance to change. But change is an unchangeable phenomenon in life. Jesus was a change maker and he had his tension and challenges with the beliefs which were static and out fashioned. Resistance to change is resistance to God himself because such agents they don’t feel God is in control of life. They narrow the world in their perspective and fail to realize that God’s plans and purpose has a meaning in the current context.
“Fasting” to the poor and hungry is baloney. When some are struggling for food and basic livelihood, how can we demand them too fast? The meaning of fasting in Isaiah 58:6-7 is nothing but sharing with the poor and needy and establishing justice.
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood....
Many feel spirituality is a self-satisfying experience. But, it’s a self-emptying experience and an experience to share the fragmented experience of the broken masses. The symbolic acts gained prominence more than the inner meaning of such acts.
Fasting is rooted in denying oneself and is rooted in the personal inspection of self which is predominantly estranged from God’s will. Oneness of mind, to listen to the voice of God will make one to live in Godly life. In this text Jesus was challenged because the proponents of antiquity in the name of tradition charged the disciples for being natural and pragmatic.
One of the failures of the traditionalist is that their hearts glorify religious particles more than God and other humans. So pathetic! Religiosity is centered in life. Life is centered in the commonality of life for all. Jesus understood the meaning of fasting and started to unmask the reality and protested against the meaningless spirituality. His ministry is centered around the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the exploited and the vulnerable in society.
The outward projections and the inward constructs fail to conjugate because of the gulf between the belief and action. Jesus equipped his disciples and at the end his disciples became martyrs to glorify God. Jesus being a new Moses, his science of hermeneutics paved a new way and a transformed path. Doing theology for Christ is always people based and especially the negated and neglected. Restoration of human dignity for all is one of the basic traits of salvation. Let us continue to engage in restoring life to lifelessness. Amen.
I would like to conclude my study with this prayer found in Episcopal Relief and Development
O Creator of all living things:
We are all hungry in a world full of abundance.
The possibilities of food for bodies and souls overflow in this beautiful world.
We ask for the grace to see the abundance of our world and
enough awareness to acknowledge our sins of greed and fear.
Give us openness of soul and courageous, willing hearts
to be with our sisters and brothers who are hungry and in pain.
We ask for your intercession on behalf of every person hungry
for earthly food and hungry for the taste of the Spirit of God.
We give thanks that we can be part of that intercession.
This world is blessed with enough food of the earth for every person to eat and be satisfied.
We all can feed on the bread of Christ, through the Holy Spirit,
as God makes a home in our hearts.
We come together in awe and wonder at the Creator who loves us so much
that we are invited and urged to be co-creators with God
in the care of our brothers and sisters.
In the name of the tender Mother-Father of all people who
hears every cry, Amen.
Action: Please let us engage in a way of love to feed the poor and needy. The Barnie Parker Sharing Shed is an opportunity to make our action a realized one.
God Bless You! Amen.