Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Monday 20 January 2020
Gospel: Mark 2:18-22
The first conflict between Jesus and the religious authority was about the forgiveness of sins. The second conflict was on communion around the same table, with sinners. Today’s Gospel presents the third conflict concerning fasting. Tomorrow the fourth conflict concerns the observance of the Sabbath. The day after the last conflict concerns the cure on the Sabbath. The conflict concerning fasting has a central place. For this reason, the words on sewing a piece of new cloth on an old cloak and the new wine into fresh skins should be understood in the light which also radiates clearly on the other conflicts, two before and two after.
Jesus does not insist on the practice of fasting. Jesus himself practiced it during forty days. But He does not insist with His disciples. This is why the disciples of John the Baptist and those of the Pharisees want to know why Jesus does not insist on fasting.
During the time in which Jesus is with the disciples, there is the wedding feast. A day will come in which the bridegroom will be absent. Jesus refers to His death. He knows that if He wishes to continue on this path of freedom, the religious authority will want to kill Him.
The religion defended by the authority was like an old cloak, like an old skin. The concepts brought by Jesus cannot be reduced to fit the measure of Judaism. Jesus is not against what is “old”. What He wants to avoid is that the old impose itself on the new, and thus, He begins to manifest it.