21 January 2019; Rejoice and be glad the bridegroom is with us

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Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Reading 1Heb 5:1-10Gospel Mk 2:18-22

Jesus said to them, As long as the bridegroom is with them, is it possible for the bridegroom’s attendants to be mourning? The answer must be, “no”. Jesus here compares His blessed presence on earth with a wedding feast. If we glance through the Scripture we can find that Scripture compares the relationship between Yahweh and his people, or between Christ and His church, with the bond of love between bridegroom and bride. Bridegroom’s attendants fasting while the feast is in progress, how strange says Jesus. Disciples of the Lord mourning while their master and Lord is performing works of mercy and while word of eternal life and beauty are dropping from his lips, how utterly illogical from the part of the disciples to fast. But Jesus adds, they day will arrive, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them. Then they shall fast. This of course is an early prediction of Christ’s death on the Cross.

The two illustrations taken from daily life, Jesus makes clear how inappropriate it would be for the disciples now to be fasting, as if the coming of Christ a great calamity had descended upon them. the main lesson conveyed through the Gospel of today is that the new order of things which Jesus by His coming has brought in, bringing healing to the sick, liberation to the demon possessed, cleansing to lepers, food to the hungry, and above all salvation to those lost in sin, does not fit into the old mold of man- ordained fasting.  The new wine and cloth represents salvation by grace, the old wine- skins and cloth symbolize salvation by the works of the man made law, a product of human institution. The new wine of salvation and liberation for all who were willing to accept these blessings, even for publicans and sinners, must be poured into the fresh wineskins of gratitude, freedom and faithful service to the glory of God.

 

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