By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: January 15, 2018
January 15, 2018

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:

“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?”

Among the Jews there was one official day of fasting during the year. This day of Atonement was when people confessed and were forgiven their sins.

The Pharisees and others voluntarily fasted more often. They would fast two days each week from six o’clock in the morning until six in the evening.

Although some fasted with the serious intent of sacrificing; depriving themselves as a means of purification, there were also those who fasted for appearance sake, to make a show of their piety.

Both motives are still evident today.

Jesus was not speaking against fasting. Following His baptism in the Jordon River by John, Jesus fasted in the desert:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.” Matthew 4:1

Jesus was concerned with people’s reasons for fasting and when it was appropriate to fast.

“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.”

This passage reminds us of the difference between Lent and Easter.
During Lent, we fast while we wait for Jesus to return.
But, when He comes to us at Easter it is a time to celebrate; no one is thinking about fasting.

“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.”

Jesus is encouraging people to be flexible, like new cloth or new wineskins. He wants them to expand their thinking. The old ways served them well, but a new day and a new way was upon them.

Jesus’ coming hasn’t done away with the old; fasting is still a viable part of religious observation.

But, with the coming of Jesus, the “bridegroom” is among us.

He has come to announce the love and forgiveness of the Father….not just once a year but every day for those who chose to believe in the unconditional love of God.

“Love is not burdensome. It is the sincere desire to sacrifice for the sake of the one we love.” Unknown



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