FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 22ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I In today’s Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees ask why the disciples of

There is great rejoicing in heaven over the conversion of a single soul Luke 15: 7; how blessed is the person who facilitated the conversion of that one soul? How much more if he converts 10 people?



BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

HOMILY: Lk 5:33-39

The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.” And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. [And] no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

In today’s Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees ask why the disciples of Jesus do not regularly fast, and instead eat and drink freely. To this question, Jesus gives two answers.

First, he says that it is highly improper for guests in a wedding to fast while the bridegroom is still around. We know from the account on the wedding in Cana that a Jewish wedding ordinarily lasts for one week, with an abundance of food, wine, music and dance. In such an occasion, fasting is simply unthinkable. Jesus often refers to Himself as the bridegroom. His disciples will fast when He is gone.

The Book of Ecclesiastes teaches us: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens” (3:1). “There’s a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” There is a time for fasting and a time for feasting. Life is just a healthy combination of both. It is a cycle of rejoicing and penance. This is beautifully and meaningfully expressed in the Church Liturgy. Christmas and Easter are seasons for rejoicing and feasting. Advent and Lent invite us to do penance and mortification. The entire liturgical year, then, is a reflection of our life on earth. And at the end of this cycle of life, we hope to join in the heavenly marriage feast of the Bridegroom, a time of endless and boundless joy.
Then Jesus gives the second reason in the form of a twin parable which He uses to teach the proper understanding of fasting. The first parable is about an old garment being patched with a new piece of cloth. When the new cloth shrinks, it will just worsen the damage on the old garment it is supposed to repair.

The second parable is about new wine and old wineskins. In the old days, people do not store wine in bottles. They use containers made of animal skin, particularly goatskins . These are convenient and safe to carry along. The downside, however, is that the wineskins lose their elasticity over time, and somewhat become brittle. When filled with new wine that is still fermenting and expanding, they could easily rupture. As a result, the wineskin is ruined and wine is lost. So, new wine has to be poured into new wineskins.

Both images – the cloth and the wineskins – convey the lesson on the need for constant renewal and conversion in response to the message of Christ. There is always the tendency in us to settle into a routine in the practice of the faith. This is, therefore, a warning against complacency and lukewarmness. At the same time, this is also a challenge for us all to abandon our sinful and worldly self. But this is never easy. That is why some of us prefer the status quo: “The old wine is better.”

When it comes to the call to conversion and renewal, we prefer the ‘old wine’ – our old habits and ways of thinking. We resist change. But we are easily attracted to new ideas and way of life that the world offers. We quickly lose interest in the tried and tested truths and way of living, and blindly embrace the current fad and trends that are not only ephemeral but pose serious danger to our souls as well.
The Apostle Paul serve gives us this reminder: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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