The Good News for the Day, July 8, 2017
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time (382)
Friends and followers of John approached Jesus, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees practice fasting so much while your friends and followers do not?” Jesus answered, “Can wedding guests do grieving practices while newlyweds are still present? A time will come when a newlywed is taken away from them. Then they will practice things like fasting. Nobody patches an old piece of clothing with new cloth; its completedness doesn’t weave well into old cloth—the tear gets worse. You do not put freshly made wine into dried-out old leather flasks. The leather would split, the wine would fall out, and the old skin get ruined. No, you pour new wine into fresh wine skins—both get preserved.” (Matthew 9)
The writers created the Gospels not to record history, but as a permanent, inspirational and ever-fresh reminder of human daily life in every era—not to trigger scientific and scholarly investigations of trivia, but to touch the heart of every one of all eras and ages. This “understanding” that I offer, therefore, is not a translation of words, but a transmission of spirit, of meaning, of fresh, good news to your life, a lasting shift of the direction your life is going. And that is the point here:
Reading this whole section carefully, a whole pattern emerges. Life is always a fresh moment to the follower of Jesus. Lincoln remarked once that “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” That is virtually the same message in this Good News. Not so much church “dogmas”—but dogmas you and I impose on ourselves—prejudices, assumptions, and convictions we have picked up during our lives. These may be very wrong, and prevent the kindness, forgiveness, open-heartedness and courage needed here and now.
The Good News calls you to wake up, to change, to Think Fresh. It is not about fasting (an external practice of religion). It is about the spirit of freshness and joy—do you permanently find in yourself the peace to be kind?