Friday, September 05, 2014
22nd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1 Cor 4:1-5
Gospel: Luke 5:33-39
The scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that your disciples eat and drink?” Then Jesus said to them, “You can’t make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them and they will fast in those days.”
Jesus also told them this parable, “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn and the piece taken from the new will not match the old. No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: The old is good.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The Pharisees complained because Jesus’ disciples ate more but prayed less. They found this intolerable because they and their followers including the followers of John the Baptist recited long prayers and fasted even more often than required by Law. Jesus explained by going back to the lofty purpose of fasting. Fasting was never meant to sadden people all their lives but to prepare them for the joy of the company of God.
The Eucharist which in essence is a festive table celebration establishes Jesus’ preference for joyful discipleship. He could have left behind another legacy. But the fact that he spent the last minutes of his earthly life bequeathing the Holy Eucharist establishes his intention to make joy the hallmark of discipleship.
The use of the term “joy” instead of “happiness” is instructive. Happiness depends on happenings while joy comes from the heart. Only a person with joy to project can persevere being a witness in a hostile environment. Joyous discipleship is not evasive of suffering. On the contrary, it looks forward to it without however seeking it out. It looks forward to it because sufferings deepen the joy of a person as he moves higher up the ladder of spirituality. But it does not seek suffering out because such would be inconsistent with joy as mark of Christianity. In the context of joy, then, we distinguish between meritorious suffering and useless suffering.
There are two major sources of sufferings, namely, the evil exercise of freedom of third persons affecting others, and the effect of one’s vices. In the former, the best option is to face the suffering squarely while in the latter the beneficial option is to nip the suffering in the bud by abandoning the wrongdoing. Taking the respective options convert these sources of sufferings to sources of joy. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM . Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, deepen our faith so that we may find joy in you even in the midst of sufferings. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. LAURENCE was born in 1381 into the noble Giustiniani family of Venice. His widowed mother who provided him a well rounded education, suggested that he should marry. He refused because he wanted to be a religious. He joined the Canons Regular of St. George who served on an island near Venice. He was named Bishop of Castello in 1433. In 1451 he was appointed Archbishop of Venice by Pope Nicholas. Later he became Patriarch of Venice and became known for his prophecy and miracles. He died in 1455 at age 74 and was canonized in 1670 by Clement X.