Fasting & Feasting

Fasting and feasting might be considered opposites, but they are also linked in a beautiful way. In today’s Gospel, when questioned, Jesus points this out to the people.

Coming out of the Christmas season, no doubt we have plenty of experience with feasting. Not only did we enjoy a wonderful variety of foods, but also a generous quantity during these special celebrations of the Christmas season. Jesus uses an even better example – a wedding feast!

A wedding feast is the perfect representation for His explanation! A wedding is so often used as the image of our heavenly homecoming. It symbolizes a time of perfect unity, rejoicing, and love. However, prior to the wedding feast, there are numerous preparations and sacrifices which must be made in order to prepare for this great event.

Something New

A wedding has an additional significance in this passage. It signifies something new. At a wedding two lives, previously separate, will now be unified. The previous lives of the bride-to-be and groom-to-be are, in a sense, passing away. Joined together, a new covenant is being formed. They are now one flesh.

Jesus gives two analogies to explain this newness – that of the unshrunken cloth and the old wineskins. In both of His examples, we see the folly of trying to fit something new into an old paradigm. The old cloak will cause a greater tear. The new wine will cause the old wineskins to burst.

Jesus explains to the people that He too is doing something new! They have grown accustomed and familiar with their laws and practices. He is gently preparing them to understand that what He has come to do, they have not seen before. He is the long-awaited Messiah, and nothing will ever be the same again!

Fruits of Fasting

So, with all the excitement and newness of a wedding, why fast?

Fasting has its place. Have you ever noticed that if you indulge in one appetizer or pre-dinner roll too many, your taste buds are deadened, and you do not enjoy the main course as much?

Fasting readies the body and makes space for the feast. In a sense, fasting actually heightens the joy of the feast. It clears away distractions and allows you to enter into the feast with freedom.

As we continue our journey in Ordinary Time, let us take every opportunity to reflect on the newness of our lives with the birth of the Christ child. Let us ensure we have a balance of fasting and feasting to spiritually ready ourselves so that we can enter into a fuller union with Christ. With each new day, may our hearts and our wills be more closely united to His!

[Readings: Heb 5:1-10; Mk 2:18-22]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.


  1. Blaise Hogan on January 16, 2023 at 6:07 am

    Bet you miss those praise filled and music worship noon masses at FUS.
    Former member of Couples for Christ (25 years of noon FUS Mass privilege).

    • Celina Maria Manville on January 25, 2023 at 5:44 pm

      Blaise, I sure do! Hoping I might be able to make it to the Power & Purpose Conference this summer!

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