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SEPTEMBER 3. Ord Time B. Wk 22. Fri. Lk 5. 33-39

The Pharisees and the scribes said to Jesus, ‘John’s disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus replied, ‘Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; that will be the time when they will fast.’


He also told them this parable, ‘No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; if he does, not only will he have torn the new one, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old.


‘And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins. And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. “The old is good” he says.’


It is important to put today’s lesson in its proper context. Jesus had just called a tax-collector, Matthew, to be one of his Apostles, and he had responded generously and was throwing a feast to celebrate; - a feast to which many sinners and fellow tax collectors sinners had been invited.


The Pharisees and scribes saw this as a good opportunity to ask Jesus, yet again, some questions they thought he would be unable to answer. Today’s question, about attending a feast, had already been preceded by the question; “why are you eating with sinners”, to which he had replied; - “because I have come to call sinners!”


So now they wanted to know why he was at a feast, when the disciples of John the Baptist were fasting; - surely that was not appropriate?


Jesus was able to use this objection of the Pharisees to introduce a new concept for them to ponder; - the fact that he was a bridegroom, and the people he was preaching to comprised a spiritual body; - a subtle introduction to the idea of the Church as his bride; - a lesson he would further explain and bring to fruition, prior to his death.


But then Christ makes the added point the feasting and celebration would only be for a very limited time; - and that he would not be with his people much longer; - “the time will come, the time for the bridegroom to be taken away from them; - that will be the time when they will fast!”


And he goes on to highlight the fact what was occurring at that time was a period of transition from the old laws and ways of life to a new set of teachings; - “‘No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; if he does, not only will he have torn the new one, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old”.


This was a new concept for the Pharisees and scribes; - that the laws they had been responsible for implementing and supervising had been superseded by the teachings of Christ. Is it any wonder they saw him as an obstacle that needed to be removed, as he was undermining their laws in favour of the new laws of love, mercy, charity, humility and self-sacrifice!


“Nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins!”


Gospel Acclamation Jn8:12


Alleluia, alleluia!

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;

whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Alleluia!


First reading Colossians 1:15-20 · All things were created through and for Christ


Christ Jesus is the image of the unseen God

and the first-born of all creation,

for in him were created

all things in heaven and on earth:

everything visible and everything invisible,

Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers –

all things were created through him and for him.

Before anything was created, he existed,

and he holds all things in unity.

Now the Church is his body,

he is its head.


As he is the Beginning,

he was first to be born from the dead,

so that he should be first in every way;

because God wanted all perfection

to be found in him

and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,

everything in heaven and everything on earth,

when he made peace

by his death on the cross.


"Jesus Christ is the image of the unseen God!"







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