January 20, 2020
(St. Sebastian, Martyr and St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr)
Samuel said (to King Saul): “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry.” 1_Sm_15:16-23
Like Saul, the Pharisees in the time of Jesus were trying to rationalize, to justify the differences in their ancient Law, and the difference between John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ actions. Jesus responded, “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.” Mk_2:18-22
Jesus IS the new wine, the new “Covenant,” the new Salvation. John’s ministry completed the old and reigned in the new (Jesus). The Pharisees and many of the Jews of the time were so steeped in the old (Law and Tradition) that they were not willing to accept the new. It actually caused them to “burst” at the seams, calling for Jesus’ death rather than acceptance of Him. And that act of capital punishment was actually contrary to their own “old Law,” the fifth of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill.”
The “new wine” of salvation would instead be offered to the non-Jewish, Gentiles, while those Jews who did accept it were more than welcome to its benefits. Jesus’ new Command of Love is offered universally and unconditionally. Now it’s universally ours to accept or refuse, not just belief, but eternal salvation as well. And in the realm of Love, how can we not want that salvation for EVERYONE, even the unbelievers!
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