Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent: Friday after Ash Wednesday

“Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” (Matthew 9:14)

Saint John Chrysostom comments on this verse from today’s Gospel reading:

“The reason the disciples did not fast was not because of gluttony but because of the dispensations of providence in fulfilling prophecy. At this point he uses the statement about his suffering to lay a foundation for a later time. In this way Jesus instructs the disciples in his controversies with others and is already training them to get practice in things that seem to be daunting. To make this statement directly to the disciples at this point would have been burdensome and depressing. Indeed, in places where Jesus spoke about such things after this it did disturb them. But because it was said to others in this case, its effect was much less depressing to the disciples.

Now it was likely that the disciples of John the Baptist were also thinking highly of themselves as a result of John’s suffering. Because of this Jesus also put down this inflated conceit through what he said. Nevertheless he did not yet introduce the topic of the resurrection. For it was not yet the right time. For the topic that Jesus did introduce, that he who was thought to be human would die, was only natural. But the topic of his resurrection was beyond the natural.” (The Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily 30)

Show gracious favor, O Lord, we pray,
to the works of penance we have begun,
that we may have strength to accomplish with sincerity
the bodily observances we undertake.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!