1Cor 4:1-5; Ps 37:3-6,27,28,39,40; Lk 5:33-39
The LORD grants the requests of our hearts when we take delight only in the LORD. The LORD who knows us face to face; He communicates with us heart to heart. The intimacy of relationship between the psalmist and the LORD points beyond itself to the mystery of the incarnation and the mystical marriage of the Divine Bridegroom and the human soul. We, who trust in the LORD and do good, dwell in the land and are fed in security. We, who take delight in the LORD and do his will, dwell in his favor and are cared for in our every need. Indeed, He grants our heart’s requests. When we have pure hearts that long to do his will, that want what he wants day in and day out. All we have to do is to commit ourselves to him, trust in him and he will act in us and for us. The LORD makes justice dawn for us like the light; bright as the noonday shall be our vindication. When we turn from evil and do good, then we abide forever in the bosom of the Father. For the LORD our God loves what is right and just; he forsakes not his faithful ones. Criminals are destroyed, and the posterity of the wicked is cut off. In all our distress, we take refuge in the LORD. The LORD helps us and delivers us from the wicked, because we take refuge in him. Saint Paul reminds us that the Lord will come to bring into light what is hidden in darkness and to manifest the motives of our hearts. For this day of the LORD we await with great joy and rejoicing! Now that the bridegroom has been taken away from us we find fast to feel in our flesh the loss of the Beloved who has been snatched from us and nailed upon a cross and is raised up on high in glory. Christ, our Bridegroom, is the one who makes us so new in heart and in fact that we actually begin in this life to taste that the Lord is good
The one who judges Saint Paul is the same one who judges us. None other than the Lord Jesus is our judge. When he comes in all his glory with all the angels, the Lord Jesus will bring to light what is hidden in darkness, and He will manifest the motives of our hearts. It is our hearts that need to be converted and purified by the fire of the Living Flame of Love. As the Prophet Jeremiah complains, “more torturous than all else is the human heart who can heal it?” Our motives are often mixed, and we are often very self-centered in our motivation. However, those around us cannot enter into our hearts and sort us out. We need the Holy Spirit, who has the fiery love we need to purify us from the core and all throughout our behavior. The Spirit alone has the freedom and the generosity to tackle the torturous hearts of all who seek to be servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Indeed, we have no time to waste on judging one another; the Lord Jesus is our judge. Rather, we need to fast and offer petitions for each other. We all need to be pure of heart; we all need to be healed from our mixed motives and self centered preoccupation. The Lord Jesus can only accomplish such a process of detachment and renewal. When we try to purify our own motivation, we get caught up in the immensity and complexity of our own torturous hearts. Too many just give up, rather than surrender to the tender mercies of the Spirit who has access to our hearts and is not afraid or fooled by our complexity or limitations. Even though we may not be conscious of anything against us, we do not thereby stand acquitted; it is the Lord who judges each of us. Indeed, the Lord alone knows our hearts, and He alone can give us the praise we deserve.
The scribes and Pharisees are presented in today’s gospel as the self-serving judges of the disciples of the Lord Jesus. From their so-called objective perspective, they condemn those who follow the Lord Jesus and praise those who follow the Baptist. The disciple of the Lord Jesus do not fast and offer prayers like the disciples of John the Baptist. The Lord Jesus sees through this complaint into the hearts of those who complain. Indeed, he is the only just judge; he sees to the core of these scribes and Pharisees. He knows that their motivation for complaining and judging is mixed. They are not as interested in the sanctification of the Lord’s disciples as much as they are interested in discrediting the Lord Jesus who allows them to “eat and drink”. The Lord Jesus challenges their condemnation and their pettiness with a revelation about the relationship between Christ and his disciples. Indeed, his defense of his disciples is clear in the statement about the presence of the Bridegroom, and even his short parables about the patch and the wineskins help to explain their behavior. Fasting and prayer are not longer offered to hold back the hand of the Almighty or to encourage the LORD to send his messiah. Indeed, the Messiah is here and something so new is happening that the very understanding of fasting and praying has changed. It’s a whole new garment. It’s a brand new batch of wine. Now we pray for the Father’s will to be done, because we know from His Son that it is the best thing that could ever happen, even if it means the cross, and we want to be a part of that coming Kingdom. Now we fast because we want to feel in our flesh the longing of those souls who have not met their Bridegroom, Christ the Lord. Among the disciples these traditions of devotion are strong and continue with a whole new meaning, just like the Passover is now the Supper of the Lamb. Alleluia!