Today’s Gospel proclamation shows how the Pharisees question our Lord Jesus on fasting. The Jews were accustomed to fasting based on the Law of Moses. It was a ritual practiced by them diligently. Following these rituals made them feel righteous and closer to God. But, that is all. This was just rituals and laws written to be followed, hearts were not converted. Though they seem to uphold the law, their mindsets had not changed. They were still living in sin with pride, jealousy, envy and so on. The act of Jesus’ disciples not fasting but instead feasting seemed to torment the Pharisees. Already the disciples had plucked grain on the Sabbath and had eaten them without the ceremonial washing. So to the eyes of the Pharisees it looked like these Jews were breaking the law.
All the more reason to persecute our Lord Jesus for encouraging such behavior. On the other hand when questioned, our Lord Jesus compares himself to a bridegroom at a wedding feast. In the Old Testament the same com¬parison is made by the prophets Isaiah and Hosea. Jesus Christ is the bridegroom at God’s wedding feast. The disciples are the friends of the bridegroom. They believed that while the Son of God is with them there is no need to lament but rejoice. But our Lord dies to indicate that there will come a time when the bridegroom will be taken away. After this is when we Christians began to fast. Fasting reminds us of our dependence on God, the need for God’s grace and mercy upon our lives. It is also a sacrifice we make in worship to our God.
In the Gospel proclamation we also see our Lord saying that we can¬not sew new cloth onto an old garment or pour new wine into old wine skins. What our Lord Jesus meant by this was that the new message of salvation cannot be poured into people with the old mindset. The Jews and their hardened hearts were the old wine skins, the old gar¬ments. They were not willing to accept the Lord Jesus with his new way of thinking. It is the same with us today. Are we willing to accept the message of salvation in our lives? Do we believe that God is love (1John 4:8). We need to be new garments and new wine skins, with an openness and willingness to have a closer relationship with God.
Prayer: Abba Father, help me to renew my mind and be open to your grace. Let me have a deeper journey with you. Amen.