Friday After Ash Wednesday

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The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”  Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?

The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

It seems like someone was always calling Jesus out because He and his disciples weren’t following some Jewish custom.  In this case, John’s disciples, who were following the law wanted to know why Jesus and his disciples weren’t fasting.  And Jesus gives them a straightforward answer.  “When I’m gone, then they can fast.”

Well, He is gone and so we fast.  Not that twenty-first century fasting is such a big deal.  First of all, we only fast two days a year, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  And most of us here this morning don’t even have to do that.  The ages for fasting are from 18 to 59 years.

The other requirement is that we abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.  Again, it’s not that tough.  For eight days we have to settle for shrimp instead of steak, fish sandwiches instead of Big Macs, pasta con broccoli instead of spagheti and meatballs, or if it’s really that hard to give up meat, we can buy soy meat substitutes that look and taste an awful lot like the real thing.  No, even today the Jewish people make a lot more food sacrifices than we do.

So today while you’re enjoying your Filet ‘O Fish for lunch and your tuna steak for dinner, hopefully you’ll give some thought to why you made that choice.  You might even say a prayer of thanks that you can observe the Lenten food regulations without really giving up that much.

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