Fasting and Feasting

Luke 5: 33-39
Col 1:15-20 / Psa 100:1-5

Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.
(Luke 5:34-35)

Nothing will last, but in its place,
The old will be replaced by the new;
Leave the comfort of tested ways,
And choose the path taken by the few.

They said to Him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” (Luke 5: 33-39)

Reflection

What Jesus was telling His critics was that there is a time appropriate for everything. His presence among them was akin to a grand wedding celebration, a time when the kingdom of God was being proclaimed, when all kinds of illnesses were being cured, when evil spirits were being cast out, when the wisdom of God was being shared, and all for free! Why would anyone think of fasting during such a joyous occasion? Then our Lord added ominously, “But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” This in reference to His coming passion and crucifixion in Calvary.

Jesus was not disparaging the value of fasting as a form of spiritual discipline. In fact He Himself fasted for forty days in the desert in preparation for His ministry. He even instructed His listeners on the proper way to fast: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting . . . when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Mt.6:16-18). Our Lord was simply pointing out that “There is an appointed time for everything. . . A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . . A time to rend, and a time to sew” (Eccles. 3:1,4,7).

In today’s Gospel, the message Jesus is telling us is that in order to understand this New Life in the Spirit, we must undergo a transformation, a renewal of our way of thinking, shedding the old skin of prejudice, self-centeredness and fear. The Gospel is offering us something entirely new, a new way of thinking, a new way of treating others, of understanding life better through the Good News of God’s Word. This new wine is God’s call to conversion– to love one another, to pray constantly, to seek justice for the poor, to forgive one another, to take up the cross and follow Him.

Of course undergoing change is easier said than done. The religious leaders in Jesus’ time kept resisting His invitation, even if they had witnessed His new ways of showing God’s love, and were awed by His teachings. They had grown too comfortable in their traditional ways of worship, and were afraid to try this New Covenant. How about us? Are we prepared to receive Christ’s ‘new wine’ into our lives? Fr. Glenn, a Franciscan monk, said, “The New Evangelization is not a new Gospel, but a new presentation; new wine, new wineskins.” This is the challenge God is calling us to take: present the Gospel in a way that people in our workplaces today are able to understand it, and accept it as a new way of Life in the Spirit.

All things undergo change, and although we must always respect ancient customs and traditions, we must practice time-tested values in the context of the present, and not remain in the comfort zone of the past. God’s love, after all, is dynamic, forward-looking, and creative. So must our faith be.

Thank You, dear God for making us understand that after our sorrows and difficulties there will be times to be joyful and be full of hope; for there is a reason and there is a season for everything that happens in our life, and it is enough that we put our trust and confidence in Your Word, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

2 Responses to “Fasting and Feasting”

  1. Espacio  on December 12th, 2015

    Why couldn’t the Pharisees drive out the dmneos? They didn’t have the light within, which is the Holy Spirit. If you have a great indwelt light, the dmneos (darkness) will flee. Also they don’t like to hear the names of Holiness or hear praise to GOD, b/c they hate Him. So, to drive out dmneos you can simply sing songs of praise to GOD or speak His Holy Names. Another way is to simply deal with them, but the onlookers perhaps didn’t have the spiritual maturity to understand that. They WOULD brand Jesus as a prince of dmneos if He could converse with them. But, if you understand that dmneos are that way for a reason, they can be dealt with basically you offer them something, pray for them, etc. Even dmneos’ can have good treatment. It is the Way they can be changed into better people, like us.

  2. Adelino  on December 23rd, 2015

    Reading this article gave me a whole new oulotok on this topic. I enjoyed reading your article very much. I agree with some of your views shared so well here.