Matthew 9:14

Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples fast not?
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Then came. When the Pharisees in the prior question had been discomfited. By St. Mark, (ii. 18,) we learn that the Pharisees joined with the disciples of the Baptist, and thus is reconciled what we read in St. Luke v. 33, who only mentions the Pharisees. (Bible de Vence) Why do we, and the Pharisees fast. It is not without reason that the disciples of St. John should ask this question, fasting being always esteemed a great virtue, witness Moses and Elias; the fasts which Samuel made the people observe in Masphat, the tears, prayers, and fasting of Ezechias, of Judith, of Achab, of the Ninivites, of Anna, the wife of Eleana, of Daniel, of David, after he had fallen into the sin of adultery. Aaron, and the other priests, also fasted before they entered into the temple. Witness also the fasts of Anna, the prophetess, of St. John the Baptist, of Christ himself, of Cornelius the centurion (St. Jerome) This haughty interrogation of St. John's disciples was highly blameable, not only for un...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The Pharisees and John’s disciples were fasting, and the apostles were not. But Jesus answered them in a spiritual way and indicated to John’s disciples that he was a bridegroom. John taught that all hope in life lay in Christ. While he was still preaching, however, his disciples could not be received by the Lord. Up until the time of John, the law and the prophets prevailed, and unless the law came to an end, none of them would subscribe to faith in the gospel. The fact that he said there was no need for his disciples to fast as long as the bridegroom is with them illustrates the joy of his presence and the sacrament of the holy food, which no one need be without while he is present, that is, bearing Christ in the light of the mind. But once he is gone, Jesus says that they will fast, for all those who do not believe that Christ has risen will not have the food of life. By faith in the resurrection, the sacrament of the heavenly bread is received. Whoever is without Christ will be for...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
This is the disease, which Christ long before was eradicating, in the words, When you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; Matthew 6:17 foreknowing the evils that spring therefrom. But yet He does not rebuke even these, nor say, O you vainglorious and over-busy; but He discourses to them with all gentleness, saying, The children of the bride-chamber cannot fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them. Thus, when others were to be spoken for, the publicans I mean, to soothe their wounded soul, He was more severe in His reproof of their revilers; but when they were deriding Himself and His disciples, He makes His reply with all gentleness. Now their meaning is like this; Granted, say they, You do this as a physician; why do Your disciples also leave fasting, and cleave to such tables? Then, to make the accusation heavier, they put themselves first, and then the Pharisees; wishing by the comparison to aggravate the charge. For indeed both we, it is said, and the Pharisees, fast ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The reason the disciples did not fast was not because of gluttony but because of the dispensations of providence in fulfilling prophecy. At this point he uses the statement about his suffering to lay a foundation for a later time. In this way Jesus instructs the disciples in his controversies with others and is already training them to get practice in things that seem to be daunting. To make this statement directly to the disciples at this point would have been burdensome and depressing. Indeed, in places where Jesus spoke about such things after this it did disturb them. But because it was said to others in this case, its effect was much less depressing to the disciples.Now it was likely that the disciples of John the Baptist were also thinking highly of themselves as a result of John’s suffering. Because of this Jesus also put down this inflated conceit through what he said. Nevertheless he did not yet introduce the topic of the resurrection. For it was not yet the right time. For th...

Peter Chrysologus

AD 450
What did John’s disciples have in common with the Pharisees if not a bond of ill will uniting those whom discipline had separated? In this case jealousy loses its bearings: Accustomed to separating people, it united them. The Jews were not disposed to esteem Moses less than the Lord, and John’s disciples were by no means willing to prefer Christ to John. Thus they grumbled in common spite against Christ. “Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, whereas your disciples do not fast?” Why? Because with you, fasting is a matter of the law and not of the will. Fasting does not reflect the one who fasts but the one who orders the fast. And what is the fruit of fasting to you who fast unwillingly? Sermons

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
John’s disciples were envious of Christ’s fame and so accused Him of not fasting. And perhaps they were wondering how He conquered the passions without ascetic struggle, something which John could not do. For they did not understand that while John, a mere man, was righteous because of his virtues, Christ is Virtue, as He is God.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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