Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9:14-17
Just like the joy of celebrating a wedding with the groom, walking with Jesus as His disciple was a joyous experience also. It was a time for feasting and celebrating! The time for fasting and suffering would come later.
Jesus wanted his followers to accept new understanding and new knowledge of God through His teachings, but John’s disciples and the Pharisees in this gospel reading were too stuck in the old ways of strict adherence to the accepted rules of behavior to open their eyes to Jesus. Jesus had respect for the old laws, but He was not caught up in following rules for their own sake. Rather, He lived the spirit behind the rules. He taught love, repentance and mercy for everyone. He ate with sinners. He showed His followers a better way of love than just keeping company with their own and looking down on others.
The parables of the wine skins and the old and new cloth show us Jesus’ new ways of spreading love and service to others as having a place in Jewish life also. They were different than the old ways, but necessary. He didn’t want His disciples to measure their faith by external measures alone, keeping the old laws, but without having loving spirits. Jesus wanted His followers to accept new ways of living their faith through an inner spirit of love.
How often do I place following the rules above a true loving response? Is my child following my rules more important to me than loving time together? Do I rigidly expect obedience of “the law” without any compassion for those needing understanding instead of judgment?
Jesus, Lord of compassion and love, help me to see others as you see them. Help me respond to others’ needs out of an inner spirit of love and not live my faith by external measures alone. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby