JAN. 18. ORDINARY TIME (B) WK. 2. MON. MK. 2. 18-22
Updated: Jul 24
One day, when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Why is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely the bridegroom’s attendants would never think of fasting while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they could not think of fasting. But the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; if he does, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine, fresh skins!’
Central to this reading, and to the Christian vocation, is Christ’s description of himself as “The Bridegroom”, which is a word intimately related with “Love”and Marriage” - which is why he used it!
The question being asked is: “Why is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?” In answering this Christ goes on to point out that his disciples are the “Bridegrooms attendants” and, for that reason, it is not appropriate for them to be fasting!
The beauty of this revelation is Christ is making the point that “Love” is at the very centre of, not only the Christian vocation, but more importantly, it is the very reason for The Son of God being present among us!
This is a truth Christians must never lose site of as it illustrates, not only the reason for Christ’s presence in the world, but also the motivation behind the duties and responsibilities of his followers.
We are called to follow and imitate Christ because he loves us and, as a result, we desire to return that love; - by being faithful to his teachings!
Love is also the only motivation able to provide the strength and perseverance necessary for us to meet our duties and obligations as Christians because of the fact sacrifice and self-denial are such essential components of the vocation.
This is a point Christ himself makes in this reading where he says; - “the time will come for the bridegroom to be taken away from them, and then, on that day, they will fast”!
Christ’s response to this question of why John’s disciples were fasting, and his own were not, illustrated the fact God was entering into a love relationship with his people (marriage) and so it would be totally inappropriate for his disciples (bridegrooms) to be fasting.
It is interesting to note Christ’s words in describing when his disciples would fast, namely: “the time will come when the bridegroom to be taken away from them” as it illustrates he was well aware his time with his “bridegrooms” would be short!
And after Christ had been “taken away” the situation for his “bridegrooms” certainly did change, as they then had the task of being witnesses to Christ’s teachings and way of life; - in the same way that Christians today have the very same responsibilities!
Gospel Acclamation Heb4:12
The word of God is living and active:
it probes the thoughts and motives of our heart.