Last Sunday Before Lent ‘B’
February 11, 2024
In today’s First Reading Hosea speaks of God's desire to restore His relationship with His people, despite their unfaithfulness. In these verses, God promises to allure His people into the wilderness and speak tenderly to them, reminding them of their initial love and faithfulness. This passage highlights God's relentless pursuit of His people, even in the midst of their infidelity. It shows that God's love is not conditional and that He longs to reconcile with His people, offering them forgiveness and a fresh start. This passage emphasizes the depth of God's mercy and His desire to restore His covenant relationship with His people, despite their unfaithfulness.
In the Second Reading the Apostle Paul addresses the Corinthians, emphasizing the transformative power of the Gospel and the ministry of the New Covenant. Paul reminds Corinthians (and us) them that they are a letter of recommendation, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. They have become ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. The ministry of the New Covenant is characterized by the Spirit and brings righteousness. Paul concludes by affirming that God has made them competent ministers of the New Covenant, not by their own abilities, but through the sufficiency that comes from God.
In the Gospel Jesus is questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees. Jesus responds with three parables, illustrating the need for a new approach to spirituality and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus reminds us that our faith is not meant to be rigid or stagnant. It is a living and dynamic relationship with God, constantly growing and evolving. Just as new wine requires new wineskins, our faith requires openness and receptivity to the new things that God is doing in our lives and in the world. We are called to embrace the joy and celebration that comes with encountering Jesus. We are invited to be open to the newness and freshness of his teachings, allowing them to transform us from within. Like new wineskins, we must be flexible and adaptable, willing to let go of old ways of thinking and embrace the newness of God's grace.
As we reflect on this passage, let us ask ourselves: Are we open to the new wine that Jesus wants to pour into our lives? Are we willing to let go of old habits and attitudes that hinder our spiritual growth? Are we flexible and receptive to the movements of the Holy Spirit?
May this teaching of Jesus inspire us to be joyful disciples, always ready to receive the new wine of his love and grace. Let us pray for the grace to be open to the transforming power of his Word and to live our lives in joyful celebration of his presence among us.