September 5, 2008
Friday of Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 5: 33-39
Then they said to him, "John's disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink." Jesus said to them, "You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days." He also told them a parable: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, 'The old is good.'"
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you: Help me to believe more firmly. I trust in you: Help me to trust more surely. I love you: Help me to love you more ardently. I am sorry for my sins: Help me to deepen my sorrow. (Universal Prayer of Pope Clement XI)
Petition: Lord, rejuvenate my love for you, and grant me the grace to spread this love to those I encounter today.
In this passage Christ’s interlocutors do not comprehend the differences between his way of life and that of the Pharisees and the followers of John the Baptist. His contemporaries’ misunderstanding is usually due to two reasons: They don’t really know who he is, and they don’t understand his mission. When Our Lord seems far away from us, when his message seems too difficult to put into practice in our daily lives, and when his plans do not seem to fit with our plans, we need to go back to the basics and shed light anew onto who Jesus is and what his mission is.
2. Spare No Expense
If you have ever helped in planning a wedding, you are aware of the blood, sweat and tears needed to make it a success. Months or even a year can be invested in choosing the church, the priest, the dresses, the reception hall, etc. Oftentimes no expense is spared, and rightly so, because a wedding celebrates the love between a man and a woman who are becoming one, new creation. In this passage Jesus wishes to compare his attitude to that of a bridegroom at a wedding feast. Our Lord wishes to spare no expense with his new wife and family – the Church. Christ’s apparent flamboyance is really about his love for his apostles, disciples and each person he came in contact with during his thirty-three-year wedding feast. As we experience this love of Christ for us in this prayer, let us respond by sparing no expense for what Christ asks of us.
3. Fresh Wineskins
Throughout the centuries billions of men have been bridegrooms with the mission of cherishing their wives and providing for their families. But only one bridegroom had the mission of saving the world from sin and opening the gates of heaven to all people. The mission of Christ on earth was to inaugurate a new and joyful time of redemption by uniting himself to all of humanity. The newness of his message could not fit into the worn-out religious structures of the time: He founded the “fresh wineskins” of the Catholic Church. As baptized Catholics, we, too, share in Christ’s mission to save souls and preach the gospel to the whole world.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you are my best friend. I am so happy because of what you did for me 2000 years ago on the cross. You give me so much hope amidst all types of difficulties, misunderstandings and persecutions. The thought that you are looking over me brightens my day and gives me the confidence I need to be your untiring apostle.
Resolution: I will pray the Stations of the Cross today for the reparation of the sins of the world.
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