January 21, 2019

Gospel MK 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
Reflection:
People could not understand why those who followed Jesus did not fast.
He answered them by explaining that there is an appropriate time for all things.
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.”
Just as it does not occur to us to begin fasting on Easter morning when Jesus (the bridegroom) has risen, neither would Jesus’ followers (the wedding guests) have fasted while He was preforming miracles and spreading the good news of our Father’s love for His children.
“But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.”
Surely, when Jesus was crucified and “the bridegroom….taken away from them” His disciples and apostles withdrew in fasting and prayer.
“Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
Jesus is saying to both the people of His time and to us that we need to stretch our minds and our hearts, to be elastic, like “fresh wineskins,” so that we can absorb and retain the wonder of His message.
The old ways of an eye for and eye, judging others and vengeance are over.
Jesus has brought a fresh message from the Father, one of loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek, and seeking to serve rather than to be served; for the one who is least among you will be the greatest in the eyes of God.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35