And Jesus said unto them,
Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Read Chapter 9
For hereby He signifies, that what they did was not of gluttony, but pertained to some marvellous dispensation. And at the same time He lays beforehand the foundation of what He was to say touching His passion, in His controversies with others instructing His disciples, and training them now to be versed in the things which are deemed sorrowful. Because for themselves already to have this said to them, would have been grievous and galling, since we know that afterwards, being uttered, it troubled them; but spoken to others, it would become rather less intolerable to them.
It being also natural for them to pride themselves on John's calamity, He from this topic represses likewise such their elation: the doctrine however of His resurrection He adds not yet, it not being yet time. For so much indeed was natural, that one supposed to be a man should die, but that other was beyond nature.
When John’s disciples approached … they questioned him even while he was at table, in the manner of a physician with the publicans: “Why do we and the Pharisees often fast, whereas your disciples do not fast?” Do you see how the same jealousy motivates and provokes birds of a feather and is made keen by the cruel goad of envy? On the one hand, it set the Pharisees, who boasted about being teachers, against the Teacher. For that reason they also said, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On the other hand, envy set John’s disciples against Christ’s disciples. That is why they also said, “How come your disciples do not fast?” Cathedral Sermons, Homily
It is with the words of John, your own teacher, whom you esteem so highly, that I answer you. Keep it in mind, and you will have the answer to your question. When John bore witness concerning me, he said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.” So, if I am the bridegroom and you don’t make a liar out of your own teacher, you know in advance that it is important for my disciples, while they are the children of the marriage … to be gay and joyful and not to become upset or miserable over fasting. In certain respects, fasting is a source of annoyance and can also be arduous for those without a mature disposition. Cathedral Sermons, Homily
. "Now is the time for rejoicing as long as I am with My disciples," Jesus says. He calls Himself the bridegroom, as One Who betroths to Himself the new congregation, the old having died. The "sons of the bridechamber" [i.e. the wedding guests] are the apostles. Jesus says, "After I have suffered and ascended, the time will come for them to fast with great hunger and thirst and to be persecuted." To show that His disciples are not yet perfected, He adds: