Old Ways, New Ways

Mark 2:18-22
Heb 5:1-10 / Psa 110

. . . no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
(Mark 2:22)

Everything has its time and place,
And with new eyes must life be viewed.
We can’t go back to our old ways
Now that our life has been renewed.

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”

Reflection

Fasting during the time of our Lord was associated with mourning, or for repentance of sins and/or supplication, as in the case of King David who pleaded for the life of his illegitimate son with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:16). But contrary to the belief of the Pharisees and the followers of John the Baptist, Jesus did fast (Luke 4:2), and even more than their prescribed period; He fasted for 40 days. And unlike the Pharisees who fasted for show, He did it in secret, going to the desert by Himself. And for a different purpose: to prepare Himself for His ministry.

The lesson that Jesus taught the Jews then still applies to the present generation: that all things must be applicable to or compatible with the present need. Mourning during a wedding is as incongruous as patching a tattered garment with a new cloth, or filling an old wineskin with new wine that will expand and burst it. Practices of the past are no longer appropriate or relevant to modern situations.

Yesterday, our BCBP Davao West community celebrated the transition of leadership “from the old to the new” in the induction of our chapter’s 2017-2019 Governance Team at the Waterfront Hotel. Our new chapter head and his team of servant-leaders did not have to fast in order to prepare for the challenges of ministry in the next three years. On the contrary, our chapter gave out a feast to commemorate the occasion. When the emcee asked me, as “my last official act” as outgoing chapter head to say the opening prayer for the installation rites, I asked our Lord God to give us a joyful celebration, full of love, fun, fellowship and good food. And He gave them all in abundance. First, the holy mass that preceded the formal installation was concelebrated by a bishop and a Jesuit priest, solemn, with an angelic-like music ministry. All the speeches were appropriate and inspiring. The feast included fresh tuna sashimi, roasted calf, lechon, and overflowing draft beer (thank God nobody got drunk). The audio visual was a work of wonder to behold. And the music and dancing that followed everybody wished would not end. All our members and guests witnessed the goodness of our loving Father, Who provides more than what we ask for when the occasion calls for it.

Father God, it is not our sacrifices that are pleasing to You, but our obedience to Your covenant of love. Help us Lord to imitate our Savior Jesus, Who showed us the importance of discipline, and the example of complete obedience to Your will. Amen.

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