Then the disciples of John came to him with the question, “How is it, that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not your disciples?”
Jesus answered them, “How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The time will come, when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then, they will fast.
Some people imagine God as a sort of super-idol who needs a certain amount of incense, bows, lit candles and rituals in order to be kept happy. And so, once they have worshipped in church and prayed their rosary, they figure that God is satisfied with them and does not expect anything more.
In today’s first reading the prophet Isaiah tells us that God is very different from what pious people imagine him to be. Because he is a Father who dearly loves each one of his children, he cares about how each of us treats his other children. Masses and acts of devotion are worthless in his eyes if we neglect social justice and simple charity. In fact, attending church, making novenas and indulging in various devotional practices are merely a means to an end. Their purpose is to make us wiser and stronger at the service of our neighbor. What pleases God is that we forget ourselves and work with all our might at making the lives of those around us better lives. God is always intent on making all his children happy. That is our task. Pious practices should stimulate us toward that goal. That is their modest role.
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