I abstain from eating meat on Fridays of Lent because the Church tells me to and for penance as well but I have a friend, who asks me "where does it say in the Bible that you’re not suppose to eat meat on Friday’s?” and I don’t know what to answer her. Does it say anywhere in the Bible not to eat meat during Lent time?
While this isn’t exactly the explanation the Church would give to Catholics, it might be one that a Bible-only literalist might understand:
As Christians we are called to imitate Catholic. During Lent, we try to remind ourselves of Christ’s time in the desert and the fast/abstaining is just a further reminder.
Christ called us to deny ourself for Him. This is just another way that I choose to do it.
Like Christ didn’t reveal He was God until His disciples were ready to understand, your friend might not be in frame of mind to understand a full Catholic explanation.
No. What it says in the Bible is that Jesus passed His authority to the Apostles, and that what they bind on earth is bound in Heaven, and what is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven. (Matthew 18:18)
The Apostles in their turn passed this authority on to their successors, who are the Bishops of the Catholic Church, and especially the Pope. (This is a matter of historical record - we can trace back the history of our Church all the way back to the Apostles, and through the Apostles of course, back to Jesus, when, as we see recorded in Matthew 16:18-19, He founded His Church upon the Apostle Peter.)
So, when the Pope and the Bishops tell us to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent, they are simply making use of the authority that Jesus gave to them, for our spiritual benefit.
I hope this helps you.
There are mentions of fasting in general many times, but none of the specific. In fact the current teachings are liberalised as they used to apply every Wednesday and Friday and include more banned foods and I believe ban food before sunset on those days. The earliest mention of fasting on those days is in the Didache, which is earlier than most of the New Testament
By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church #540 pg 138
All much less than what Jesus endured.
It boils down to this: Does the Church have the authority to declare seasons or days of fasting, and how they are supposed to be observed?
Wait a second.
So does that mean that Jesus said the Church can do ANYTHING and the people would have to abide by it…otherwise they’re damned to Hell?
No, it does not mean that. Why do you think it does?
Well, it sure gives me that feeling. It thinks that everyone has to do this and that otherwise, “good-bye to you”.
Where does it say in the bible how to tie your shoelaces? Nowhere. And yet, we all learn how to tie our shoelaces! Amazing.
Where does it say in the Bible to go to Church on Wednesday nights? Nowhere. And yet millions of Baptists trot off to services every Wednesday night despite the fact that it’s not in the Bible.
The early Church community decided on acts of penance such as fasting and abstaining from meat. Christ gave the Church the authority to make these types of decisions.
Don’t let your friend concern you at all. Your friend lacks a 2000 year old link to the historical practices of the Church. You do not. You need to understand that nowhere in the Bible is it written that everything Christians do is in the Bible.
The Church is also protected by the Holy Spirit from officially teaching or commanding anything harmful, or anything that is not true, so although it is true that we would certainly go to Hell for disobeying the Church, the Church is never going to teach us or command us to do anything that would be harmful for us, spiritually.
This promise is given by Christ in Matthew 16:19 - “the gates of Hell shall not prevail,” and also in John 14, which speaks in more detail about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
Do you always jump to conclusions based on your feelings?
I don’t think he is basing this on his feelings, so much as on the plain sense of the text.
The Bible does not require anyone to abstain from meat on any day. In fact, the only passages in the New Testament that talk about it are Acts 15:29 and 1 Timothy 4:3. The passage in Acts 15 says that the only parts of the Law of Moses required by the elders and apostles in the congregation in Jerusalem were prohibitions against idolatry, fornication, and eating blood and meats from strangled animals. It says nothing about abstaining on certain days.
The passage in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” This says that people who command others (the Catholic church) to abstain from meats are false teachers!! Whether it is talking about people who insist that others practice a vegetarian lifestyle at all times or whether it is talking about abstaining only on certain days (like Fridays) is unclear. Maybe it applies to both.
The practice of not eating meat on Fridays (all Fridays) dates back to about the fourth century. It is written in some writings of that time that it was a practice, but does not say it was a sin. Anyone who says it is a sin would have to prove it by the Bible, and the Bible says that requiring people to abstain from meat is itself a sin. Anyone who chooses not to eat meat on any particular day is within their rights to do so. Anyone who requires it of others is absolutely wrong.
On EWTN’s “Web of Faith” Saturday, the priests discussed the former practice of the Church NOT to give absolution for sins UNTIL the penitent had performed all of their penance, which could last for years! We are so very blessed to have these very small opportunities to unite with the entire Body of Christ, sacrificing in atonement for our sins (which is really not much of a sacrifice to abstain from meat one day per week).
As for being biblical, Jesus taught that unless we do penance, we will surely perish. It is a mandate, yet the Church does not impose great penances upon us that would be difficult to perform. Voluntarily, we may choose to do more, but this is the very minimum that is asked of us.
Wow… we’re reviving a six-year-old thread? :shrug:
That’s not true. In Judges 20:26, the entire army fasted and sacrificed to the Lord prior to an attack on the Benjaminites. In 1 Samuel 7, Samuel ordered the “whole house of Israel” to “return to the Lord with your whole heart,” and the Israelites fasted for a day. In 1 Samuel 14, Saul commands the army to fast on a day of battle. In 1 Samuel 31 (and 1 Chronicles 10), men fast for a whole week after burying Saul and Jonathan. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehosaphat orders a fast for all of the Kingdom of Judah. In Ezra 8, Ezra assembles everyone who had returned from the exile in Babylon and proclaimed a fast for all the people so that they might have a safe journey.
But, that’s just the Old Testament. You might reply that there’s nothing in the New Testament that speaks to us of the necessity of fasting. That would be false, too.
In Mt 9:14, Mk 2:18, and Lk 5:33, Jesus tells John’s disciples that His disciples are not currently fasting, but that they will fast when He is taken away from them. In Acts 13, the prophets and teachers of the Church in Antioch were fasting and worshipping the Lord, prior to sending off Barnabas and Saul on their ministry.
So, it’s clear that there are many Scriptural examples of fasting – even fasting that was required, and fasting prescribed for all! And, after all, abstinence is a form of fast – that is, a fast from animal products…!
The passage in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” This says that people who command others (the Catholic church) to abstain from meats are false teachers!! Whether it is talking about people who insist that others practice a vegetarian lifestyle at all times or whether it is talking about abstaining only on certain days (like Fridays) is unclear.
It’s not unclear. Paul identifies that the foods from which people abstain are ones that should be “received with thanksgiving.” Do Catholics “receive with thanksgiving” all sorts of meat? Of course they do! Therefore, this passage isn’t talking about periodic abstinence, but permanent abstinence… which is not part of the Catholic observance of Lent.
The practice of not eating meat on Fridays (all Fridays) dates back to about the fourth century.
I would argue that it’s earlier than that: the Didache specifically talks about days of fast. Again, abstinence is a form of fast – it’s fasting from animal products!
the Bible says that requiring people to abstain from meat is itself a sin.
No, it doesn’t! You yourself quoted the passage: it doesn’t talk about meat at all – that’s a presumption you’ve inserted into the text!
Anyone who requires it of others is absolutely wrong.
That’s not what Jesus says. Remember when he was talking about the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23? He tells the people that “the scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you.” In other words, since they had legitimate authority from God, they could command the people to observe particular religious practices; and, Jesus tells the people that they must obey these leaders when they made these commands. So, if the leaders required a person to fast or abstain… then, according to Jesus, it was completely legitimate and was binding on the people.
By the way… who did Jesus set as the authorities in His Church? Oh, yeah, that’s right… Peter and the apostles. So… if their successors – who now sit upon the seat of Peter – prescribe a fast or an abstinence, based on their authority… then it would seem that Jesus’ own words tell us that we are to listen to what they say and observe the things that that require.
Well said, Gorgias!
1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, AND COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS, which GOD hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Its quite clear.
From my understanding, we give up eating meat on Fridays during Lent and I believe in some countries every Friday, because Jesus Christ gave up His Flesh on Friday for our Salvation and this is the reason we deny ourselves eating “flesh” on Fridays and also on Ash Wednesday.
In our own small way we are honoring Christ for His great sacrifice for us.
Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary