Some people asked Jesus, «The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that your disciples eat and drink?». Then Jesus said to them, «You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them and they will fast in those days».
Jesus also told them this parable, «No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: The old is good».
Jesus is not against imitation, because He himself has asked us to be perfect just like His Father. What is important and necessary is to have a proper discernment process in our every decision. He is asking us to assume the responsibility for every act committed than simply following the tradition. Creativity just for it may not produce good fruit. Every act should have a finality and this finality should be narrowly oriented towards Christ. For every Christian, Christ should be the centre of everything. ‘If Christ is with us, who can be against us?’, asks St. Paul. The very presence of Christ will be an occasion to feast.
«You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them»
Fr. Frederic RÀFOLS i Vidal
Today, while pondering over the Gospel, we can detect the trap prepared by the Pharisees and masters of the Law, when they twist an important question: they simply oppose the fasting and praying of the Pharisees and John’s disciples to the eating and drinking of Jesus' disciples.
Jesus Christ tells us there is a time to pray and fast and a time to eat and drink. Which means the same person that prays and fasts is who eats and drinks. We can appreciate that in our daily life: let us watch the simple joy of a family, maybe our own family. But, later on, tribulations may visit them. The persons are the same, but circumstances differ: «You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later they will...» (Lk 5:34).
Timing is everything; there is a time under the sky for everything: «A time to rend, and a time to sew» (Eccles 3:7). These words uttered by a learned man of the Old Testament, certainly not the most optimistic one, almost coincide with the simple parable of the torn coat. And, to a certain extent, they probably coincide with our own experience. Our mistake appears when at the time of sewing, we tear and at the time of tearing, we sew. Then, everything goes wrong.
We are aware that, along with Jesus Christ, we shall reach the glory of Resurrection through his passion and death, and that no other way is God's way. Precisely, Simon Peter is scolded when he tries to lead the Lord away from the only way: «You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men» (Mt 16:23). If we can enjoy a few moments of peace and joy, let us make the most out of it. There will probably come other moments when we shall have to fast for good. The only difference is that, thanks God, we shall always have the bridegroom beside us. And this is what the Pharisees did not know and, maybe, this is why in the Gospel they always appear as such bad-tempered persons. Therefore, and as far as we are concerned, let us avoid being bad-tempered, while admiring the Lord's soft irony, which can be gathered from today's Gospel.