Monday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers,
and show us the way to your peace in the
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Mark 2,18-22
disciples and the Pharisees were keeping a fast, when some people came to him
and said to him, 'Why is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the
Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not?'
'Surely the bridegroom's attendants cannot fast while the bridegroom is still
with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But
the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then, on
that day, they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old
cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the
tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the
wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine
into fresh skins!'
• The five conflicts
between Jesus and the Religious authority. In Mark 2, 1-12 we have seen the first conflict. It was
about the forgiveness of sins. In Mark 2, 13-17, the second conflict is on
communion around the same table, with sinners. Today’s Gospel presents the
third conflict concerning fasting. Tomorrow we have the fourth conflict,
concerning the observance of the Sabbath (Mk 2, 13-28). Day after tomorrow, the
last conflict concerning the cure on the Sabbath (Mk 3, 1-6). The conflict
concerning fasting has a central place. For this reason, the words on sewing a
piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak and the new wine into fresh skins (Mk
2, 21-22) should be understood in the light which radiates clearly also on the
other conflicts, two before and two after.
• Jesus does not
insist on the practice of fasting. Fasting is a very ancient practice, practiced by
practically all religions. Jesus himself practiced it during forty days (Mt 4, 2).
But he does not insist with his disciples so that they do the same thing. He
leaves them free. This is why the disciples of John the Baptist and those of
the Pharisees, who were obliged to fast, want to know why Jesus does not insist
• When the bridegroom is with them they do not
have to fast. Jesus responds with a comparison. When the bridegroom is with the
friends of the bridegroom, that is, during the wedding feast, they do not need
to fast. Jesus considers himself as the bridegroom. The disciples are the
friends of the bridegroom During the time in which Jesus is with the disciples,
there is the wedding feast. A day will come in which the bridegroom will be
absent and then, if they wish they can fast. Jesus refers to his death. He
knows and feels that if he wishes to continue on this path of freedom, the
religious authority will want to kill him.
• To sew a new piece
of cloth on an old cloak, new wine in new skins. These two affirmations of Jesus, which Mark places here,
clarify the critical attitude of Jesus before religious authority. One does not
sew a piece of new cloth on an old cloak. When the cloak is washed, the new
piece of cloth tears the cloak and the tear becomes bigger. Nobody puts new
wine in old skins, because the fermentation of the new wine will tear the old
skins. New wine in new skins! The religion defended by the authority was like
an old cloak, like an old skin. It is not necessary to want to change what is
new and brought by Jesus, for old customs. The novelty brought by Jesus cannot
be reduced to fit the measure of Judaism. Either one or the other! The wine
which Jesus brings tears the old skins. It is necessary to know how to separate
things. Jesus is not against what is “old”. What he wants to avoid is that the old imposes itself on the new and, thus he begins to manifest it. It
would be the same as reducing the message of the Vatican Council II to the
catechism of the time before the Council, as some are wanting to do.
4) Personal questions
• Beginning with the profound experience of God
which encouraged him interiorly, Jesus had great freedom concerning the
relation ship to the norms and religious practices. And today, do we have this
same liberty or do we lack the freedom of the mystics?
• A new piece of cloth on an old cloak, new wine
in old skins. Does this exist in my life?
5) Concluding prayer
recognised for ourselves,
and put our
faith in, the love God has for us. (1Jn 4,16)