In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples of John that there is a time for fasting, and there is a time for rejoicing, as when one is with the bridegroom.
I remember one morning when Sr. Terezina Lumbieri and I were traveling through the mountains of Baguio City, Philippines. Fr. Elgar Bautista was driving and I was in the back of the truck with six members of the choir, two altar servers, and a lector. We were like a traveling church! Embracing the experience, it was a moment to remember.
When we arrived, I saw tarps up, chairs all around, and people ready for Mass, waiting for us to arrive. My eyes started to water, as I thought to myself, “THIS is Church.” There were no walls, no roof, but there were people gathered, and there was much indescribable beauty in the simplicity of the gathering. The wind and rain started to pick up, but Mass did not skip a beat.
When I think about fasting, I think about the invitation to be present to others, for Christ is in them. I reflect on the importance of being in the moment and of being fully present in mind and heart to the person and people I am surrounded by. As a result, I have no pictures, but vivid memories of that special day. There was joy throughout the Mass despite the cold, and when we had to leave, there was sadness, not knowing when we would be together again.
What can you fast from, so you can be more fully present to others? Time spent on social media? Not checking your email while you’re in a Zoom? What can you feast on, to build meaningful, authentic relationships with others? Empathy? Humility and patience? The invitation is here.
Crystal Catalan serves as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. She has degrees from University of San Diego and Eastern University, and previously served as a missioner with Cabrini Mission Corps in New York, the Philippines, Swaziland, and Radnor, PA at Cabrini University. She is currently pursuing her masters in pastoral ministries with an emphasis in restorative justice and chaplaincy at Santa Clara University.