So many thoughts are competing in my head this morning from one small part of today’s gospel! In response to a question about why the disciples of Jesus do not fast like followers of others, Jesus talks about fasting being inappropriate for wedding guests while the bridegroom is still with them. He doesn’t stop there, however, and it’s the addendum that has me thinking. Mark 2:20 says: “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.” Here’s what happened to me.
First I flashed all the commercials about NutriSystems and Medifast and Jenny Craig designed to help people in the US lose weight, often to be more attractive. Then I thought that before long Lent will be here and some of us find that a good euphemism for dieting – giving us just a little more oomph for self-control. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not speaking of how much people weigh. I am very sensitive to reasons for weight gain both physical and psychological. I’m talking about people like me who find it hard to eat just one cookie when there are a dozen to be had who hardly try to leave the rest for later. Fasting as a discipline has generally disappeared from our spiritual lexicon. A stronger and more emotional arising (at least today) was of the Province focus of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Albany, i.e. “food as a human right” which speaks of our efforts to join with others to see that all are fed. A corollary to that topic is our concern about genetically modified foods…and so on it goes. I could spend the day in this reflection.
What I might do instead is: 1. to give thanks for the great blessing of having enough to eat; 2. to eat consciously, not on my way to the next event or while multi-tasking in some other way; 3. to be aware of portion control; 4. to wait to eat until I am hungry, really hungry, so that I might recognize what many people know as an everyday companion; 5. to give some time to educating myself more about issues of hunger in our country and around the world. All of these things can be done today, but not only today. The important thing will be mindfulness of the intention: consciousness that it is ours to live the lessons of “the bridegroom” here and now.