Faith Daily | 16 January 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p528
by whose grace alone we are accepted
and called to your service:
strengthen us by your Holy Spirit
and make us worthy of our calling;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 2: 18-22
18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
21“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Peter Galbraith
At first sight v 18 -20 and v 21-22 seem to be addressing rather different things? Perhaps it makes sense to work backwards. In the latter verses Jesus is appealing to common sense and experience. No one in their right mind would mix new cloth patches with old garments, or new wine with old wineskins!
But these were metaphors for what had just been happening. The people were wanting to know why Jesus as the author of the new way was not adhering to behaviours (fasting) that characterised traditional piety. His answer, containing references to guests and bridegrooms, must have seemed enigmatic to listeners not yet aware of the fulness of His mission. But in essence it contained an eternal truth – that in order to understand and take on the new, the old must not be allowed to hold things back. Particularly when the old may have become mere custom, and separated from its original purpose. In Revelation John describes the church at Ephesus as having lost its first love.
Is this not the same for every generation? What should continue to be done is what we grew up with! Sometimes it is, but sometimes as in this Gospel passage, form replaces substance. As with those long ago, we need ongoing discernment and judgment to recognise and act on the difference.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised. (Hebrews 10: v 23)