Then they said to him, ‘John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.’ Jesus said to them, ‘You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.’ He also told them a parable: ‘No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old…” (Lk 5: 33-36)

The Lord’s disciples are new to the whole business of spiritual life. He has chosen them from all walks of life, like that of a fisherman and of a tax-collector. So at this point they are toddlers, enjoying their first steps with Him, Who is constantly “with them,” like a loving parent is with a small child. It is not yet time for grown-up activities, one of which, apparently, is fasting. At this point, the disciples, like infants, are given to “eat and drink” whenever they need to do so.

This passage reminds me of the simple fact that a life in Christ does not begin, in its early phases, with strict asceticism. It can, actually, be damaging to burden oneself, or to burden other beginners, with ascetical rules and regulations, because “the new will be torn.” The body, in a state of being hungry or tired, might confuse and dampen the spirit of one who still needs the tender, loving care of an infant in Christ.

Today let me ask God for His wisdom, when it comes to the physical side of “spiritual” life. Let me let God discipline me in ways appropriate to, and healthy for, my growth in Him. “Blessed are You, O Lord, teach me Your statutes.” (Ps 118/119: 12)

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