06Sep 6 Sept. 2013. Friday of the 22nd Week

Col 1:15-20. Through Christ everything in heaven and on earth was created, and by him also reconciled with one another and with the Godhead.

Lk 5:33-39. The disciples do not fast while Jesus is with them, only later when he is taken away. Two short parables about the new situation her brings.

First Reading: Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel: Luke 5:33-39

Then they said to him, John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink. Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.'”

Surprised by Grace

We are asked to consider our lives as lived between two extremes of creation, the first at the beginning of time, the second when Jesus returns at the end of time. Situated in between, our lives are profoundly influenced by the memory of beginnings and by a marvellous hope beckoning us into the future. This text from Colossians, which may have been a hymn chanted in the early Church, attributes first creation to Christ, the firstborn of all creatures, in whom everything continues in being, and who is the head of the body, the church.

Yet, we live in the “now,” when things can take quite another form and we are caught amidst envy, misunderstanding and rash judgment towards one another. While some rejoice in God’s wonderful graces, others complain that they ought to be fasting and praying more fervently. Jesus himself was not good enough for his contemporaries, and even alive within our friends and our church today he is still criticized. We sense this situation in his words, We piped you a tune but you did not dance, we sang you a dirge but you did not wail (Luke 7:32). Some people can never approve what others do, no matter what the motive.

Some want to put the mysterious working of grace under human control, rigidly maintained. They want to patch a new garment with old material, pour new wine into old wineskins. But the old skins will burst under the pressure of the fermenting new wine. The old piece of cloth will never match the texture and color of the new.