The New From The Old: Mark 2:18-22


The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

This seems to be a continuation of the goings on at Levi’s dinner party. Maybe the fact that these people see Jesus and His disciples eating and drinking on this particular day (for we know according to the Didache 2.8 that the “hypocrites” fasted on Monday and Thursday) that they bring this question to Jesus. And, once again, Jesus gives a fascinating answer (as He always did).

Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? or as we would look at it now; “My disciples cannot fast while the Messiah is with them, can they?

By using the matrimonial imagery, Jesus is reiterating what had been taught (and maybe set aside) in ancient Israel; that Israel was called God’s wife ( Isa. 54:5, 62:4-5).

  • For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.
  • No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.

With the arrival of Immanuel (God with us) the messianic time is ushered in.

Jesus then continues: As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.

Does this present itself as a contradiction? After all, Jesus states later, And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age; He says this right before ascending to the Father. So….Is it a contradiction? For us with faith it isn’t, but even with faith, it can still be confusing.

We can over spiritualize what Jesus said and make this contradiction disappear. Don’t get me wrong, He is certainly with us in a spiritual sense, but is that the extent of it? After all, He created us physical beings as well as spiritual beings. Did He leave us any tangible evidence of His presence? The answer to this question is a resounding YES!

You may now be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with studying this section of scripture?” Could this be part of the new cloth and the old cloth? The new wine and the old wineskins? Let us examine!

The only presence of God at the time of Christ, was in the Temple (the Holy of Holies to be exact). This would be the old cloth, the old wineskin, established by God long ago. But now, we see God Himself, becoming man and leaving the Temple, to make His dwelling among us, with His people. This was something the old cloth or the old wineskins couldn’t patch-up or contain.

Jesus take the idea of a “far off” God and presents a “personal” God. This too, was something that the old cloth and the old wineskins couldn’t patch-up or contain. So, “What is this tangible evidence,” you ask?

First He left His Church, His Kingdom on Earth, to continue His work (Matt. 25:31-46, 28:18-20). Secondly, He left the seven (7) Sacraments of the Church (Baptisim, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony). The word Sacrament is defined as ” a visible sign of God’s invisible presence.”

Through His Church, we are reminded in a tangible way, to continue in Christ’s mission; did He only come to meet the spiritual needs of the people? No. He met their physical needs as well. So as important as it is to share our faith in Christ, it is equally important to show our love for Christ, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me (Matt. 25:40).

Through the Sacraments, we are tangibly reminded and strengthened as we continue our faith journey and our work for the Lord. The most precious of the Sacraments is the Holy Eucharist, “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324). In the most intimate way, Jesus is not only with us spiritually, but tangibly, as a humble servant, in the form of bread and wine. Who else could do this? Who else would do this?

What was that noise?

Did I just hear your cloth tear? Did your wineskin just burst?

This week, let us not be like the Pharisees, who couldn’t accept the “new” because of the “old.” Rather, let us understand more fully, what Jesus Himself left for us through His Father.

From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings. Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: “Abide in me, and I in you. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches.” And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”     CCC 787

When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit. As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: “By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation.”    CCC 788

As Christ Jesus is the sacrament of God, the Church is our sacrament of Christ.

Amen.

Easter Sunday


But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15:20

What a day! Resurrection Day!

May our love for the Triune God, be resurrected in our hearts this day.

May all glory, honor and praise be His.

Amen.

Holy Thursday


Happy Holy Thursday to you! I hope you have plans to go to a worship service tonight.

Tonight is the night we remember:

1) The last supper.

2) Jesus washes the disciples feet.

3) His agony in Gethsemane.

4) His arrest.

5) His trial.

If you can’t make a service tonight, read your favorite Gospel account, or all the Gospel accounts of Holy Thursday, and remember, give thanks to Him who gave His all for you.