Friday of 22nd Week, uneven numbered year Vendredi de la 22e semaine, année impaire

"Surely you can’t make the bridegroom’s guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?’
Thursday 30 July 2015

Col.1, 15-20 Ps. 99 Lk. 5, 33-39

Friday of 22nd Week, uneven numbered year

“The Pharisees said to Jesus, ’John’s disciples are always fating and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees too, but yours go on eating and drinking!’ Jesus replies, ’Surely you cannot make the bridegroom’s attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then , in those days, they will fast.”

When Jesus manifests a teaching that isn’t in continuity of thought with that of the Pharisees, there is a deep teaching for ourselves with very important consequences for our faith. For that, he uses the parable of fasting as well as two other parables : the one of wine in the skins and the one of a new piece if materiel added onto an old piece of clothing. He realizes that the Spirit he brings isn’t to the liking of everyone, and that those who tasted the old wine that is of the old law, are badly disposed and who welcome this new wine that He brings Himself. Jesus gives a hard time to those who are stuck in their old comfortable way of seeing matters. Jesus has an astonishing liberty, faced with the fasting and ritual prayers of the Jews, He speaks a new kind of language .He is the bridegroom giving an inner light to those who trust him. ’The bride follows the lamb wherever he goes,’ says the Apocalypse. The relationship with God is a relationship of love, a relationship as at a wedding feast.

“Jesus also told them a parable :’No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on anew cloak; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and run to waste, and the skins will be ruined.”

This new parable speaks a lot about the new spirit that Jesus brings, one which is quite the contrary to a spirit of legality that the Pharisees like to show. “The companions of the Bridegroom will fast when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them.” That is the fasting is the absence of the beloved. It is when the Bridegroom, Jesus Himself, will be taken away, from the disciples, first of all by his

Passion and burial, then by his Ascension to the Father. In this time in the Church where Jesus is made invisible, and where we are awaiting his return, in this waiting for the encounter, we are fasting. Jesus will manifest himself to us and we shall see him face to face. Jesus is the bridegroom of his people, he took upon himself our humanity, he went down into our anguish, going as far as death, to deliver us from our infernal distress.He brought us out of it, and has us ascend to the Father. Here, in faith, we are with Him living from his Life, we have re-clothed Christ! The Holy Spirit is given to us so that we can enter into a new Infinite Love and, this, for ever : ’He wanted to reconcile all things to himself…making peace by the sign of his Cross.“His disciples will fast when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Jesus is the Head of the body of a new humanity, that is, the Church.”And no- body puts new wine in old wine skins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and un to waste, and the skins will be ruined. No, new wine must be put in fresh skins And nobody who has been drinking old win wants new. ’The old is good, ’he says."

Our life is a pilgrimage following Jesus’ footsteps. It is in Him : we are his own and we belong to Him. The Holy Spirit renews us from the inside, with a new freedom. To fast is first of all for us to be aware of Christ’s absence, of this impossibility for us to put this new wine elsewhere than in new wineskins. That is, in a new life to be able to embrace him, see him, contemplate him in faith which is of an extraordinary richness, but at the same time obscure. When Christ proclaims to be the Bridegroom of humanity, the Bridegroom of each one of us, he means by this that he desires to enter into a deep intimacy, one that is so intense that it precisely brings about in us this desire, this expectation and marvel. Jesus’ human face, born of the woman, is the shining forth of the infinite love of the heart of God. God revealed himself to Mary on the day of the Annunciation like a source of Love that goes well beyond anything else. We are introduced into welcoming this Love in the Heart of the Father, into the infinite Love bursting forth from the Heart of God.

Let us ask for the grace to live in the Infinite Love of Christ, to live in the Holy Spirit.