Monday, January 18, 2010

"Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins.""

- Mark 2: 18- 22

1 comment:

  1. It is not nearly as striking for Jesus to say, in effect, “We are not fasting because that which one has been preparing for by fasting has arrived” as it is for Jesus to say, “That which has arrived will be taken away”. There is an underlying current of sorrow here in the words of Jesus, for great is his longing to be with his people as their God and husband, and yet he knows that it is their leader’s mistaken zealotry for the letter of the Law rather than a zealotry for the spirit of the Law that will bring him to the hill of the skull where the bride will nail her divine lover to the cross. And what complex paradoxical sorrow there is in Christ’s brief parables: New cloth, because it is not yet tempered and conformed, cannot be fitted to an old garment, else matters are made worse – Those who will hear Christ’s gospel must be conformed and tempered so that the old garment can be made whole again, else Christ’s people will fracture and tear. The Jewish people need not fear for Christ has not come to abolish the Law but rather to fix it and fulfill it, making it into the cloak of his Mystical Body. Yet in the parable of the wineskins, we find that the new shall surpass the old. The joy that Christ brings and to which he calls his people shall be a new thing, the old shall not circumscribe the new but the new shall be contained within its own circumscription. What paradox that the old shall be restored and yet give way for the new! Such is the Gospel of Christ; the old Adam shall be healed but he shall have to die beneath the waters and become the new.