Week 22: Friday

“And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” (Luke 5:33.)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel proclamation:

“But the days will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them.” Which are these days in which Christ is taken from us, especially when he himself has said, “I shall be with you, even to the end of the world,” when he has said, “I will not leave you orphans”? For it is certain that if he were to leave us, we could not be saved. None can take Christ from you, unless you take yourself away. Your boasting will not take you away, nor arrogance, nor may you presume on the law for yourself. “For he came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” The righteous are those who do not strike him who strikes them, who love their enemy. If we do not endure thus, the opposite is found. “I came not to call the righteous.” Christ does not call those who say they are righteous, for not knowing God and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Therefore the usurpers of righteousness are not called to grace. For if grace comes from penitence, surely one who scorns penitence renounces grace. Those who make themselves out to be holy will be wounded. The Bridegroom is taken from them. Neither Caiaphas nor Pilate took Christ from us. We cannot fast, because we have Christ, and we feast on the body and blood of Christ. For how does he who does not hunger seem to fast? How does he who does not thirst seem to fast? Then, how can he who drinks Christ thirst when he himself said, “Whosoever shall drink of the water that I will give him shall be thirsty no more”? Then what follows will declare the saying to concern the fasting of the spirit.” (Exposition on the Gospel of Luke, 5.)

God of might, giver of every good gift,
put into our hearts the love of Your name,
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by Your watchful care,
keep safe what You have nurtured.
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.

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