21.01.2020 — Tunnel vision

Posted under Reflections on January 20th, 2020 by

Week 2 of Ordinary Time, Tuesday – 21st January 2020 — Gospel: Mark 2,23-28

Tunnel vision

The Pharisees protested against the disciples of Jesus for breaking the Sabbath law. They spotted a violation and expressed no concern for the well-being of these hungry men. Their first judgments and first impressions manifest their tunnel vision. In fact they fail to recognize the Messiah in their midst. David had the right to claim exception to the ritual law and here we have the Son of Man, who was greater than David. However, Sabbath offered no governing principles to guide life but contained merely rules and regulations. These rules and regulations were not themselves of divine origin but human. When the law becomes the focus and when human traditions are given the divine mandate, then the true spirit of the law is ignored. Thus we are reminded through Jesus, the Son of Man, that human individuals and their true needs are more important than rules. In giving explanations about the Sabbath law, Jesus shifted the focus of the Pharisees to human needs rather than mere observance of religious law.

20.01.2020 — Radical renewal requirements

Posted under Reflections on January 19th, 2020 by

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.  

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