When I was in my high school years, I was frequently invited to attend wedding masses as a groom’s man. The ceremony would conclude with a tradition that the principal sponsors and the newlyweds will arrive last at the reception. The wedding guests are the ones who would arrive first at the reception hall to welcome the newlyweds. I would always experience a sense of jubilation, coupled by the sense of anticipation and joyful expectation as I join the guests await their arrival.
In the gospel for today, our Lord tells us that the wedding guest cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them. They are then expected to fast when the bridegroom is taken from them. In my experience as a wedding guest, and as a relative of one of the parties, I affirm that this is true. The family of the newlywed would always experience the anticipation, jubilation and lastly the moment of fasting signaled by their family member’s departure to live with the spouse and start their new family. The fasting brough about by this new reality is a sad moment for an immediate family relative. It is also a moment of silent joy.
Our Lord does not merely emphasize the idea of mourning or sadness as can be seen in the gospel; nonetheless, he ushers us into a disposition that is ready to mourn should the bridegroom be taken away, and also to a sense of anticipation and hope for his coming back. We are called to live a life of joy and consolation as if we are in a banquet; and a life of mourning when we are separated from him when we sin.
By: Sem. Jeffrey Barcoma
The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers,
and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink.”
Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests fast
while the bridegroom is with them?
But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
then they will fast in those days.”
And he also told them a parable.
“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one.
Otherwise, he will tear the new
and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins,
and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.
Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.
And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, ‘The old is good.’”