Scripture: lectionary 435. I Cor. 4:1-5. Psalm 37:3-4.5-6.27-28.39-40. Luke 5:33-39:
Jesus and his disciples are criticized because they are not fasting and attending prayer in the synagogue as do the disciples of the Pharisees and John the Baptist. Jesus listens to their complaint and explains clearly why his disciples do not fast and pray at the regular times that others do. He uses the analogy of a wedding feast where the bridegroom, the bride and the guests are there for celebrating not fasting or prayer. When the bridegroom is present there is not to be any fasting.
Jesus applies this to what he and his disciples are called to do while he is with them teaching and preaching the plan and will of God for all who are willing to listen. His active ministry is a form of prayer and rejoicing; they are to do what he does with great joy and enthusiasm.
We know the full story of Jesus. He is anticipating the mission he has from his Father and doing God’s will with joy. Good Friday will come soon enough and then his disciples will mourn, fast, and pray.
Fasting will then be the correct way of mourning the loss of the bridegroom. But now the feast is ready, and the wines are prepared in skins that will keep the best wine; not new skins lest the wine be spoiled or spilled. Garments are patched with the same type of cloth not with patches that will separate and tear the clothing used during a wedding.
Jesus has strengthened his answer to the religious leaders by drawing on images from ordinary everyday life that makes sense during special times of celebrating. A marriage feast is an ideal time for such rejoicing and refraining from fasting. We have to also celebrate the presence of Jesus during different season of the liturgy with new ways and new readings that are appropriate for Lent, Advent, Easter, etc.
The Presence of Jesus is central to these times of both joy or prayer or fasting. The bridegroom is there for us to enjoy as a friend and companion in what we do in good times and rough times.
St. Paul also teaches us that the Lord is the one who will judge us on what we do as appropriate for the respect we have for the presence of the Lord. God brings to light what is hidden in darkness and manifests the intentions of our hearts. We are learning wholesome wisdom from both Paul and Jesus in the readings for this day. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.