20.01.2020 — Radical renewal requirements

Week 2 of Ordinary Time, Monday – 20th January 2020 — Gospel: Mark 2:18-22

Radical renewal requirements

The followers of John fasted in the spirit of humility and hope. They awaited the Messiah, the One whom John had promised. Those who were baptized by John had the hope that they would see God’s kingdom. Though they shared the fast in common, their reasons were personal. Fasting was a prophetic sign that God’s kingdom would soon arrive. However, the Pharisees fasted as a way to keep the Law in letter and in spirit. As leaders in the community, their fast was deliberately public. They demonstrated their piety as a way to inspire others to return to God and keep the law. By keeping the spirit of the Law always before them, they were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. Jesus responded with three analogies that occurred in daily life, all of which had overtones of the coming kingdom. The kingdom of God, now present in Jesus, is inaugurated like a joyful wedding banquet. The marriage feast is a time for wearing special clothing and drinking fresh wine. And so the new clothing and new wineskins are metaphors for the radical renewal required of a person to live under God’s reign. Jesus, the groom, has come to transform God’s people with the wedding feast of God’s love. The new clothing represented baptismal garment and the new wine of the new life in Christ.