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A New Way
Monday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I come to you in these moments seeking to know your ways. Quiet my heart. Bring my focus onto you, the Bridegroom who loves your Church and her people. Open my heart and soul to receive your love in this time with you.
- Something New: As we see throughout the Gospels, Jesus eloquently addresses questions designed to entrap him. Being a disciple of Jesus is not the same as following John or the Pharisees. He is the Messiah, the living God. Jesus paints a new picture of a relationship with him as Jesus the Bridegroom, in love with his bride, the Church and her people. The disciples of Jesus are too busy soaking in his loving presence to fast; his time with them here on earth is short.
- Jesus Is Clear: Jesus wanted his followers to use their time with him to be “made new,” not just patched up. Instead of fasting, they were joyfully absorbing the transformative presence of their Savior. As Jesus explained, if we were to pour good wine into a cracked decanter (“old wineskin”), it would be wasted. Our own poor efforts cannot make our ragged old selves new. Only Christ can transform us so that we are able to receive his love, store it in our hearts, and pour it out to the world like good wine.
- Joy in His Presence: Jesus asked, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Although we may not be living in the time of Christ, as Catholic Christians we are uniquely blessed to experience his presence in the Eucharist. As we open our hearts to this joyful reality, we are slowly transformed into new beings, radiating his love and beauty. Our willingness to be transformed is essential. Like a grumpy wedding guest who sits in the corner refusing to partake in the celebration, we can attend Mass and receive Our Lord in the Eucharist with our minds on other things and our hearts closed. In this passage, Jesus calls us to joyful celebration in his presence. He is calling us to be open to radical transformation so that we can receive him and, with his grace, reflect his love to others.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I offer you everything I do today, as once again you renew your sacrifice in the Eucharist. Please unite me to your Sacred Heart and convict me of the joyful reality that you love me. I know that apart from you, I can do nothing. Let your love transform me so that, with your grace, I can become the person you created me to be.
Resolution: Lord, today by our grace I will make a spiritual Communion or receive you in the Eucharist, and ask you to open my heart and embrace your transformative presence.
For Further Reflection: No Greater Love by St. Teresa of Calcutta is an illustration of a life transformed by Christ in the Eucharist and in service to others.
Cathy Stamper lives in Maryland and has five adult children with her husband of thirty years. They owned and operated a family business for twenty-nine years. She is a member of Regnum Christi and has been active in the Leadership Training Program and Walking With Purpose.
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