The Gospel Today
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Reflection (Sem. Enrico L. Terrel):
There is a saying which goes like this, “having too much of everything gives us nothing.” Eating is good for our bodies but to eat more than what we need would make us feel bloated. We might even get sick due to indigestion. Worse, we could be committing the sin of gluttony especially if our eating habits prevent us from being charitable to others. Working is good because we need to work in order to earn money that can be used to buy our basic needs like food, clothing and other things. However, excessive work is not good especially if it prevents us from praying to God by going to Mass during Sundays and spending quality time with our family.
In the Gospel passage, Jesus Christ did not advocate fasting for his disciples because as one Bible commentary would say, “fasting is a sign of mourning and would be as inappropriate at this time of joy.” It is a time of joy because Jesus Christ is with his disciples. Furthermore, Christ likened the love relationship He shared with His friends in the imagery of the wedding feast celebrated by the bridegroom and the bride. Given that, there is indeed no room for mourning. It is also good to note that the disciples who questioned Jesus were the disciples of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus who exhorted people to repentance and fasting in preparation for the coming of the Lord. The God who loves us always is also a God who puts order in all His creation. He reminds us to put everything in its proper place. In times of prayer, we give ourselves in worshipping and communing with God. In times of work, we exert our best effort in accomplishing what is entrusted to us. In times of being with our family, we give our whole attention, our energy and our love to them. We should be joyful in all these moments because there is no moment that we exist apart from God who would not fast on loving us.