Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
The messianic feast
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.” Mk 2,18-22
“I did not come not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mk 2,17), Jesus said this in verse which precedes the today gospel. The so-called righteous, those who merely comply with the rules and the fast, did not accept the person of Jesus as the Messiah, who should have fulfilled their messianic expectations. In the scene of the today’s passage, all the righteous fast: the pharisees because they are anchored to the past and the disciples of John because they are still waiting for the future salvation. Only the sinners, who in the person of Jesus of Nazareth caught the love of God which reached and forgave them, are feasting. This scene shows us the true aspect of the gospel of Jesus: the marriage between God and the man, which now moves back to the original spontaneity in the new horizon of God’s love. The love renews everything, creates everything as entirely new. The “new wine” of his love, which is given to us in Christ Jesus, is so abundant and bubbly that it cannot be contained in the old wineskins of the past. You cannot compress the gospel in the old rules of human wisdom. As Paul says, it is “foolishness”, not common sense. The joy itself is not common sense, or it is at a level such that it does not need rules, skins or old clothes. In the messianic feast, which the today passage describes, “new heavens and a new earth” (Is 65,17) are opening: there you do not go with old clothes, repaired with some new patch, you have to wear the new clothes for the feast. We have an idea of this messianic climate in the sunday lunches, when we all come together to feast together in our house. During the week we work and strive in our activities, but on the sunday we feast, not looking too much to the rules, even to those of the health eating, systematically violated by the mixed fried appetizer. And if you drink a glass of wine more: patience! The feast is a feast.