Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 5, 33-39

They then said to him, 'John's disciples are always fasting and saying prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees, too, but yours go on eating and drinking.'

Jesus replied, 'Surely you cannot make the bridegroom's attendants fast while the bridegroom is still with them?

But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then, in those days, they will fast.'

He also told them a parable, 'No one tears a piece from a new cloak to put it on an old cloak; otherwise, not only will the new one be torn, but the piece taken from the new will not match the old.

'And nobody puts new wine in old wineskins; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and run to waste, and the skins will be ruined.

No; new wine must be put in fresh skins.

And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. "The old is good," he says.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

We have all had the experience of seeking rules and regulations, even strict ones, to follow, that may relieve us from the responsibility of understanding what the Lord asks us. This is why the Pharisees praise the Baptist’s disciples, who fast and recite prayers, while they condemn Jesus’ disciples who accept invitations to meals without concern for what others are doing. Jesus responds that the disciples celebrate because they have found the saviour of their lives. The Gospel compares this celebration to a wedding celebration because of its beauty. However, the time will come when the bridegroom "will be taken away from them" -it is the first time that the evangelist refers to Jesus’ death—and then his disciples will be unable to celebrate. They will fast and live many difficult and painful moments. Jesus illustrates his statements with two images. First, he explains: "No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old." In short, the new one is torn and the old one is not repaired. For his second illustration he says: "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed." In this case, as in the first, the damage is two-fold, it affects both the wine and the wineskins. The two images illustrate very effectively the novelty of the Gospel message: Jesus’ love cannot be contained in the Pharisees’ ritualistic frameworks or in an external attitude that even the disciples may experience. The Gospel of love has a force that bursts forth that cannot be contained by our egocentrism, our laziness, our merely external models, or our formulas with which we oppose even the Spirit. The Gospel of love always asks for a new heart, a heart which undergoes conversion, a mind which listens and lets itself be guided by God. Holding tightly to our own ideas and traditions makes us blind. It makes us love ourselves more than the novelty of the Gospel, to the point that we say, precisely, that "the old is better," that is, we always prefer our own ego and our own habits to the newness of the Gospel.