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Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 9:14-17.

Old wine skin – Lamb Skin

The Question about Fasting – Matthew 9:14-17

Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?

The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.

People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.

Fasting is a sign of mourning and would be as inappropriate at this time of joy, when Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom, as it would be at a marriage feast. So,

  • Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matthew 9:15)

Yet the saying looks forward to the time when Jesus will no longer be with the disciples visibly, the time of Matthew’s church. When he is dead then they will fast.

  • But as for your fasts, let them not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth days of the week, but do ye fast on the fourth and sixth days. (Didache 8:1)

Each of these parables

  • No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. (Matthew 9:16)

and

  • People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17)

speaks of the unsuitability of attempting to merge the old and the new. Jesus’ teaching is not a patching up of Judaism, nor can the gospel be contained within the limits of Mosaic law.

The above passage can be found in Mark 2:18-22 and in Luke 5:33-39.

The Questions about Fasting – Mark 2:18–22

The disciples 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.

The Question about Fasting – Luke 5:33–39

And they said to him, “The disciples of John 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.’

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