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Sunday, March 2, 2003

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8th Sunday Ordinary Time

Hosea 2:16-17, 21-22
2 Corinthians 3:1-6
Psalm 103
Mark 2:18-22

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fasting between feasts

"The day will come, however, when the Groom will be taken away from them; on that day they will fast." —Mark 2:20

Jesus announced that His disciples would fast after His Ascension. Thus, the early Church fasted frequently (e.g. Acts 13:2; 14:23). We are also called to "frequent fastings" (2 Cor 11:27).

This call to frequent fastings is not often received as good news. Because the Lord has chosen to work so powerfully through fasting, Satan makes it as difficult as possible for us to fast. It is a battle to fast, and therefore it is hard to joyfully accept the call to fast, especially frequently.

Nevertheless, New Testament fasting can be seen as a joy and a privilege. In the new covenant, fasting is not primarily a reaction to tragedy (cf Jon 3:7; Zec 7:5). Rather, it is the result of having been with the Bridegroom, Jesus, at His wedding feast (Mk 2:19). New Testament fasting spans the period of time between the wedding feast of Jesus' public ministry and the final wedding feast of heaven (Rv 19:7). When we fast, we move from love to love. We fast because He first loved us (see 1 Jn 4:19). "The love of Christ impels us" (2 Cor 5:14). Fasting is a special way the Lord gives us to express our love for the world — including unbelievers, the fallen-away, the broken and hurting, the poor, babies in the womb, etc. Fast in love.

Prayer:  Father, deepen my love so that I will want to fast.

Promise:  "I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord." —Hos 2:22

Praise:  Praise Jesus, our Bridegroom and risen Lord!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Secret of Fasting or on audio AV 46-1 or video V-46.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002