“Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature”
(Mark 16: 15)
Let us remember God’s Teaching, contained in His Word and in doing so, remain
New Wine Into New Wineskins
Ordinary 8 Year B Mark 2: 18 — 22
1. A large number of Christians will say that when they were taught from this passage of St. Mark’s Gospel, it was usually to justify a break from Judaism and its replacement with Jesus’ teaching and religious practice. Towards the end of the second millennium, many people started to rediscover the value of appreciating the continuity between Judaism and Christianity.
The three short but powerful visual images our Lord portrays are not about casting off the old and replacing with the new. They are about honouring both streams of divine revelation and helping the devout to make the transition into our Lord’s age of fulfillment. Of course this is a mystery which we will fully comprehend, and value, only as we enter into it.
As we study and reflect on this teaching of Jesus, we will discover increasingly, the beauty of our Hebrew heritage and how it contains the key to unlocking the essential truths and divine Teaching so magnificently presented by our Lord and Messiah, blessed be His Holy Name, whose glorious kingdom is forever.
2. In this, as well as other passages recording His instruction, Jesus intimates — if we would but observe closely — a certain “fitness or propriety of things“. Such a phrase can be empty, or virtually meaningless unless we approach the Scriptures very humbly, with an honest intention to ponder their great truths. We can too easily look on the Bible as a source of quotations to rattle off when we want to prove something with absolute certitude. The Bible is not a “Mechanics’ Manual” to flick through until we find something which for us, cements an idea in place. It reflects first and foremost the splendour and majesty of God and requires us to model our thinking on His, rather than our using “bits” of His Word, to underpin what we wish to believe. There is indeed a fitness and propriety of the things of God.
We need to remember that our duty is to LISTEN to the Word of God, and permit our understanding to be guided by the Holy Spirit, who empowers Christ’s Body, the Church, to pass on to us the meaning and truths contained in the Sacred Scriptures. This may sound a little obscure, but it is exactly what is taking place in our short passage from St. Mark.
3. The disciples of St. John the Baptist are the first people chosen by Jesus to hear Him proclaim that the Messiah, among other titles, is a bridegroom. The infant Church came to see very early that, collectively, they formed the Body of Christ — His Spouse, whom He loved. Thus there developed within the Church, a vibrant relationship of intense love between the Lord and each of His members. This understanding had its origins in the Jewish Scriptures, and reached its fulfillment in the teaching of Jesus.
For us, it is a beautiful and abundant wellspring of our Christian Faith and daily spiritual life.