Prayer: O Jesus, give me faith which accepts your new Covenant.
Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples and his opponents.)
In this text, Jesus uses three images, the bridegroom, the new coat and the new wine. They all reveal the new powers of the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents are holding on to the old and see no need to accept Jesus.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples fast and offer prayers. The disciples of the Pharisees do the same. Yours, on the contrary, eat and drink quite freely.” Jesus responded, “Can the guests of the bridegroom fast while the groom is still with them? When the groom is taken away, they shall fast.”
Jesus proposed a figure. No one uses a piece of a new coat to patch an old one. The old coat will tear and the new piece will not match.
No one puts new wine into old skins. The new wine will break the old skins and all will be lost. New wine should be poured into fresh skins.
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
- Jesus deliberately does not allow his disciples to fast. Their freedom highlights the newness of his Kingdom.
- He is the bridegroom and the wedding will soon begin.
- He uses this confrontation to preach his message. The Kingdom is a totally new gift of God.
- Any attempt to join the old with the new will destroy everything.
- The new wine is too powerful for the old wineskins.
- Jesus prepares his disciples for divine favors which their Jewish faith cannot imagine.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Jesus, how limited is my faith, unable to grasp your favors.
- Jesus, You are the bridegroom. The wedding has begun. You are in our midst.
- I will put aside my old way of life and receive all you will give.
- How powerful is your new wine. I will drink it fully and it will change me.
- Give me new faith, Jesus. My present faith cannot receive all you want for me.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will ask for greater faith.
- I will set aside my old habits that limit Jesus’ power.
Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)
The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is present.