Friday, September 4, 2015

Reflection: Luke 5:33-39

Friday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time — Luke 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees come to Jesus and say to him: “The disciples of John fast and offer frequent prayers, as do the Pharisees. However your disciples eat and drink.” Again the scribes and Pharisees were criticizing him. If you were in Jesus’ sandals, how would you respond? I am sure I would be a bit angry.

However, Jesus answers them: “Do the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” I wonder if the Pharisees were confused by Jesus’ question. Did they look at each other in confusion and wonder what in the world Jesus was talking about? Or did they realize that he was using this analogy of the bridegroom as a reference to himself?

Jesus then tells them: “No one patches an old cloak with a new piece of cloth.” Jesus knew that anyone with sense would realize that if a new piece of clothing was sewn onto an old, worn cloak, it would tear. Then Jesus uses another image: wine and wineskins. Everyone knew that if you put new wine into an old wineskin, the wineskin would burst. It simply did not have the elasticity of a new wineskin. If wine was being made, it needed to be put into a new and pliable wineskin.

Jesus is sending a message to the Scribes and Pharisees. He will not be following in their footsteps. Rather, Jesus is doing something new. The Scribes and Pharisees are controlled by the letter of the law. For Jesus, the law of love always reigns supreme. Jesus is creating waves that disturb and unsettle them. And the Pharisees do not like it. Perhaps they also are jealous of Jesus’ popularity with the people.

Ask yourself: are you a legalist? Do laws and rules reign supreme in your life? We definitely need laws and rules. These help make life more humane and structured (in a good way). Yet, love is the supreme law. Today I invite you to be mindful of what law reigns in your life. Will it be the law? Or will it be love? This is a decision only we can make. And it always is our decision!

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