Commentary on the Gospel of
Religious observances such as fasting, penance, or almsgiving are not done for their own sake, but have meaning, relevance, and referents. In the Christian tradition, they are to be done in the context of relationship with Christ, the bridegroom of the soul. John trained his disciples to fast in preparation for the coming of Christ. But they have not realized that fasting is not an end in itself but a means. Now that the Christ is already present, it is time for celebration and feasting. When the groom is taken away, it is time to turn to fasting and penance, in preparation for his return. Without the relational centrality, any religious act loses its meaning.
Similarly, Christian martyrdom is senseless unless it is understood in the context of a relationship. Maria Goretti’s choosing death over loss of chastity does not make sense to a world that does not understand the centrality of relationship with God. For those who do, nothing else makes sense.
Credits: Claretian Bible Diary
Paulson Veliyannoor, CMF