Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Col 1:15-20; Ps 100:1-5; Lk 5:33-39

Revelation in the Old and New Testaments enables us to know who God is and who we are in relationship to God.  Our identity and His identity are revealed at the same time.  We are his flock and he tends us lovingly.  We enter his gates, his courts, singing praise and shouting thanks.  The Lord’s kindness endures forever unto all generations.  Such is the mystery unfolded in the Tradition, written and oral.  In faith we receive the mystery of God.  This faith demands that we change who we are so that we can receive who God is.  This change of heart is not ours to give to ourselves.  Unless God gives us a new heart, our hearts are too small to receive the enormity of His Mystery.  It is in Christ Jesus that Saint Paul can see the image of the invisible God, and in seeing Christ that he can see everything in Christ, everything in heaven and on earth.  The Lord Jesus uses three everyday metaphors to help us understand this need change of heart.  These three short parables appeal to both men and women in his original audience.  Wine, weddings, and clothing are images to which most can relate.   

At the very center of the mystery of Christ Saint Paul rejoices to find peace that is made possible by the Blood of the cross.  At the heart of Christian revelation is the cross of Christ.  Through the self-sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, we have been reconciled to God and to one another.  Who Christ is and who we are meet in the Blood of his cross.  We are cleansed, purified, liberated along with all creation in the Blood of the Lamb.  Indeed, the highest heavens were created through Christ and in Christ.  Nothing visible or invisible was created without Jesus the Christ.  Such a cosmic vision challenges the surviving pagan notions of multiple gods called thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers.  Whatever the heavenly hosts, they are not in any competition with Christ Jesus for our love and worship.  Indeed, Christ Our Lord is preeminent, in him all the fullness of life and divinity was pleased to dwell.  It is in and through Christ Our Lord that all things are reconciled, so that peace through the Blood of the cross is our lasting joy and final beginning.  There is no confusion, and we are not lost; rather we have been found, new and fresh, washed in the Blood of the cross.

The contemporaneous critics of the Lord Jesus seem to be scandalized by the way in which his disciples are always eating and drinking.  They point out how other holy people fast and pray more than they eat and drink.  Jesus answered them,  “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?”  The Lord Jesus is that bridegroom, and while he is still near the feasting continues.  Just in case they did not get the meaning of his teaching, the Lord Jesus makes two other analogies.  He refers to a domestic chore of sewing a hole in a cloak.  One would never use new cloth to patch an old cloak.  He makes reference to another domestic issue about whether or not to put new wine in old wineskins.  This, too, would be a disaster because new wine expands and old wine skins are well beyond expanding and would crack open from the fermentation of the new wine.  The pious practices of the past and a narrow vision of God’s favor must give birth to the new wine, the Blood of the Lamb, which alone can reconcile the old with the new, the young with the old, the Gentile with the Jew.  Such is the surprising vision of the Kingdom of God that the Lord Jesus establishes and nourishes from the old wound in his side and the vintage wine of fulfillment and jubilation.  Such is the banquet in which the past and the future meet, and the eternal now has begun.