Daily Reflection – Jan 18, 2016
Monday 18 January 2016
First Reading: 1 Samuel 15:16-23
To the upright I will show the saving power of God
Psalm 49(50):8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
Gospel Reading: Mark 2:18-22
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
We know that God always loves us.
This love is not conditional on what we give up or the penance we impose on ourselves. At times it might be tempting to think that I can gain extra favour through sacrifice and offering, but as 1 Samuel shows, this thinking is mistaken.
As the Psalm says, if I go the right way, I will know the saving power of God. In other words, when I conduct myself in harmony with God, I am fulfilled. Sacrifice is superfluous. And, if I am living a full life in Christ, the Gospel suggests that this sacrifice is also incongruous: Jesus asks why wedding guests would fast if the groom is present.
The wedding theme continues in the gospel when Jesus tells his friends that no one fasts with the bridegroom present. He and they will soon be new wine—and in abundance! Further, Jesus says that new wine in old wineskins tears the skins; new skins are required for the new wine.
In the first reading, God rejects Saul as king. Samuel must tell the king that although Saul went on “the mission” God sent him, he did not obey. God told him to destroy all the spoils, but Saul took the best sheep and cattle as an offering to God. Samuel asks, Does God take delight in sacrifice or in obedience? The psalm reiterates that theme; in it, God asks for a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Do you fast? Do you know why? Renew your intention and be sure to include thanksgiving for all the good things you are missing. If you do not fast, how do you thank the bridegroom for his constant presence in your life? How do you obey?
Jesus, obedient, thankful, generous, make our hearts your very own. In our gratitude, may we be generous and give ourselves in obedience to whatever you tell us. I am reminded that the love of God cannot be contained in old structures and strictures. Each day offers new ways of experiencing God’s love and following God’s ways of loving.