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».
The society where live gives us certain regulations, so that a common life be agreeable to all. It is here that some of us get so obsessed (in the family, society, office etc.) and when they have certain authority and power, wish to impose, what they think as ideal and good to everyone, without taking the sensibility or priority of the other into consideration.
Jesus invites us to look our life not in comparison of the other in the society where we live, rather, fix our attention in Him and in the will of the Father. For this, Jesus asks us to discern life and evaluate the way we manage it. He wishes that everything begins and ends in God. In God we will find stability, for the whole of creation depends on Him. Even though the world He has created is good, everything in it is not good for all.
Thus, He warns us that it is not wise for us to format our lives according to the desires or orientation of this world. It must be formatted according to the divine will and the talents and capacity that God has showered on us, to accomplish His will. The divine wisdom will help us to discern and choose well. So, it is not a question of fasting or not fasting, nor is it a question of the new or the old. For God, the whole creation is good in Him and in Him, everything is fine for us. The rest are secondary in nature and we should learn to ignore the unimportant elements of life.
Action of the day: Discern according to the divine will.
«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.