Advanced search Click here for the website of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

Skip Content
 

20 February 2015

Read today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 9.14-15

TV Chef Delia Smith once wrote a recipe book which she called ‘A feast for Lent’. It wasn’t about baking simnel cake or hot cross buns, but about making Lent a time of celebration and joy in anticipation of Easter. A true feast!

And yet we can’t get away from it – fasting is an important part of Lent. Lent gives us an opportunity to do without meals, alcohol, or something else we normally enjoy - in order to put our bodies and motives in check. This is not just about discipline, about mind over matter – it’s about putting God first.

In today’s reading Jesus explains why his cousin John the Baptiser fasted and taught his disciples to do the same. Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness of Judea praying and fasting before setting out demonstrating and proclaiming the reign of God.

In Lent, and beyond, we are neither to be self-indulgent, nor so self-denying that we become self-harming. Actually what matters is not to focus on our selves at all, but on Jesus, whose presence in our lives changes us from the inside, just as he transformed the lives of many people in his day; and has continued to do so ever since his death and resurrection.

‘The time will come for fasting’, Jesus says. But let us never forget to celebrate the love the Father has for us.

 

Today’s Gospel Reading is Matthew 9.14-15

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’  And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.