And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?

COMMENTARY

But their scribes and Pharisees murmured saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? Why do the disciples of John fast often, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?
Thus far I have considered a few examples that call for solemnity and sacred introspection. But just because solemnity is called for in some situations, does not mean it is always the right thing for every situation.
The Pharisees criticized Jesus and his disciples for having a moment of joy, for not remaining forever in a state of solemnity. These verses do not describe the behavior of Jesus and his disciples in great detail, but there is nothing to suggest that they were being crass or profane, simply enjoying a moment of innocent levity. It bothered the Pharisees, and I have certainly known a few stiff-collared Christians that it would bother as well. Our view is too narrow if we do not appreciate the role of joy in this gospel, too.

Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
Jesus’s response was to describe his presence with his disciples as being similar to a groom with his loved ones during the wedding. It was a time of celebration and excitement, a time for being happy, and all the more so when this particular groom was also the son of God! How could one not flow with happiness when they were able to talk and eat with their own Savior?
I am sure that when Christ comes again there are going to be moments of tearfully acknowledging his sacrifice for us, and there will be moments of solemnity as we watch him heal the sick and wounded, but unquestionably there are also going to be moments of vibrant celebration! And that is not only permissible, it is right.

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