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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Friday 22nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Col 1:15-20): Brothers and sisters: Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the Body, the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the Blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.
Responsorial Psalm: 99
R/. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song.

Know that the Lord is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; give thanks to him; bless his name.

For he is good, the Lord, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): Alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 5,33-39): Some people asked Jesus, «The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that your disciples eat and drink?». Then Jesus said to them, «You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them and they will fast in those days».

Jesus also told them this parable, «No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: The old is good».

«You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them»

Fr. Frederic RÀFOLS i Vidal
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, while pondering over the Gospel, we can detect the trap prepared by the Pharisees and masters of the Law, when they twist an important question: they simply oppose the fasting and praying of the Pharisees and John’s disciples to the eating and drinking of Jesus' disciples.

Jesus Christ tells us there is a time to pray and fast and a time to eat and drink. Which means the same person that prays and fasts is who eats and drinks. We can appreciate that in our daily life: let us watch the simple joy of a family, maybe our own family. But, later on, tribulations may visit them. The persons are the same, but circumstances differ: «You can't make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later they will...» (Lk 5:34).

Timing is everything; there is a time under the sky for everything: «A time to rend, and a time to sew» (Eccles 3:7). These words uttered by a learned man of the Old Testament, certainly not the most optimistic one, almost coincide with the simple parable of the torn coat. And, to a certain extent, they probably coincide with our own experience. Our mistake appears when at the time of sewing, we tear and at the time of tearing, we sew. Then, everything goes wrong.

We are aware that, along with Jesus Christ, we shall reach the glory of Resurrection through his passion and death, and that no other way is God's way. Precisely, Simon Peter is scolded when he tries to lead the Lord away from the only way: «You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men» (Mt 16:23). If we can enjoy a few moments of peace and joy, let us make the most out of it. There will probably come other moments when we shall have to fast for good. The only difference is that, thanks God, we shall always have the bridegroom beside us. And this is what the Pharisees did not know and, maybe, this is why in the Gospel they always appear as such bad-tempered persons. Therefore, and as far as we are concerned, let us avoid being bad-tempered, while admiring the Lord's soft irony, which can be gathered from today's Gospel.