January 16, 2012
Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary
Father Walter Schu, LC
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of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to him and objected, "Why do the disciples
of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but
your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the
wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As
long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot
fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is
taken away from them, and then they will fast on
that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth
on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls
away, the new from the old, and the tear gets
worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the
wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is
poured into fresh wineskins."
Introductory Prayer: Jesus, what a
joy and what a gift to have this time to
be alone with you! I want to know you more
deeply. I want to hope in you more firmly. I
want to love you with greater constancy in my daily
life. Only you can give me these gifts. Only you
can make me a bold and joyful apostle of your
Petition: Lord, help me to experience the new
joy that comes from carrying the cross alongside you.
1. The Joy of the Bridegroom: The Old Testament prophets,
especially Hosea and Isaiah, describe the relationship between Israel and
Yahweh as a marriage covenant. Israel is the bride, often
an unfaithful one, and Yahweh is the bridegroom. When Christ
refers to himself as the bridegroom, he is appropriating a
title that had been reserved to God alone. Clearly, Jesus
is much more than an ordinary rabbi. What experience do
we most associate with a bridegroom and the wedding feast?
Joy! “Although it is true that the cross is never
absent from an authentically Christian life, it is equally true
that the God who meets us on that cross is
the same God who created the heavens and the earth,
the oceans and the mountains, laughter, sunlight, and every earthly
delight” (John Bartunek, LC, The Better Part, p. 365). Christ
came to bring us joy, a joy that would last
2. Should Christians Fast? Christ says that
when the bridegroom is taken away, then his disciples will
fast. This is his first reference in the Gospel of
Mark to his coming passion. Fasting is a way of
sharing in Christ’s sufferings. Fasting, sacrifices, and acts of self-denial
are also means to detach ourselves from earthly goods in
order to cling more firmly to Christ himself. They make
us aware of how much we need God. But these
ways of sharing Christ’s cross should not make us glum
followers. “Some Christians give the impression that following Christ is
a somber affair, or that the Christian life consists above
all of dour sacrifices and boring obligations. Joyless, dreary, dull.
No wonder their friends want to stay as far away
from Christianity as possible!... If our friendship with Christ does
not fill us with contagious enthusiasm, we’re probably being a
half-hearted friend” (John Bartunek, LC, The Better Part, p. 365).
3. “Behold, I Make All Things New.” The movie
The Passion of the Christ puts this phrase from Revelation
on Christ’s lips when he meets his mother Mary as
he carries the cross to Calvary. Christ’s “narrow gate” of
the cross leads to a radically new way of life.
It brings an abundance of joy, a new vigor, interior
peace. The new wine of the life of grace that
Christ pours out on his followers must change not only
their way of life, but even their internal attitudes and
consciousness. As St. Teresa of Avila once put it, “A
sad saint is a bad saint.” What obstacles in my
life do I need to overcome in order to follow
Christ with greater joy and to radiate that joy to
Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for the
new life you came to bring — your own divine
life of grace inside me and each of your followers
who is faithful to you. Help me to share that
joy with others. I long to be a true apostle
of your joy.
Resolution: Today I will forget about
myself and seek only to help make those around me