In today’s Gospel Our Lord reminds us that in the Christian life there are Lenten moments and there are Easter moments. The Pharisees and disciples of John the Baptist don’t completely realize that the Messianic time of liberation for which they’d been doing penance for millenia was now at hand, a cause for rejoicing. Jesus makes it clear too that everything is not going to be Easter from that point forward: his disciples would fast and be sad when his Passion was at hand. A Church that is all Lent is not in God’s plan, nor a Church that is all Easter in this life. The important thing is to live the moment as God would have us live it, and to celebrate every mystery of Christ’s life, both suffering and rejoicing.
He also reminds them, and us, of the importance of maintaining traditions and watching over them and adapting them with prayer and prudence as new situations arise. If a tradition seems to no longer completely apply to circumstances, adaptations should be done carefully in order to respect those aspects of its original purpose that are still sound. If we don’t use a tradition for it’s true purpose, instrumentalizing it to force something we want, we’ll ruin the tradition, just like the old wineskins in today’s Gospel. Traditions have history and we have to keep that history in mind in order to understand what they bear for us and how we can transmit them to future generations.
Let’s ask Our Lord today for the wisdom and prudence to live each moment as he would like us to live it, and to understand and use well the traditions he and the Church have handed down to us over the centuries.
Readings: Genesis 27:1–5, 15–29; Psalm 135:1b–6; Matthew 9:14–17.