Friday, September 4, 2015

Twenty-third Friday in Ordinary Time

St Olaf's Weekly School Mass

Readings: Col 1:15-20; Ps 100:1b-5; Luke 5:33-39

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see God? Or, have you wondered what God would be like if He were to come into the world?

Twenty years ago, which is a really long time ago, I know, there was a song recorded by Joan Osborne. The title of the song was “One of Us” Here are the lyrics of the beginning of the song:
If God had a name, what would it be? And would you call it to His face?
One of the really great things about being Christians is we know that God did become one of us. God’s name when became one of us is Jesus. As we heard in our first reading this morning, Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). In other words, Jesus is God in the flesh. Like a lot of things we talk about in Church we have a name for Jesus, who is God, becoming one of us. Does anyone know the word we use to describe God becoming one of us? (Incarnation)

How do we know what Jesus was like? Where do we find this out? In the Scriptures, in the Bible, but particularly in that part of the Bible we call the Gospels. How many Gospels are there? (4) What are the names of the Gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Today we read from the Gospel According to St Luke. In our Gospel this morning Jesus and His followers (followers of Jesus are called “disciples”) are asked by some of their fellow Jews why, instead of fasting and praying a lot, like followers of John the Baptist and a group of Jews called the Pharisees, they “eat drink” (Luke 5:33). The way Jesus answers their question tells us a little bit about what Jesus was like.

The Wineskins by MazTaz (aka Marianne (Maz) Gill-Harper)

How many of you have ever attended a wedding? Did you have fun at the wedding? Was there music and dancing and food, including cake, or did everyone sit around quietly not eating anything? Jesus tells those who ask that His disciples don’t fast like many other Jews because while the groom is present at the wedding everyone celebrates. So Jesus equates His becoming one of us with a wedding and likens Himself to the groom. The Church is Jesus’ bride. Marriage is very important in God’s plan. There is a wedding at the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis chapter 2, in which Adam and Eve are joined together. There is a wedding at the end of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, which describes Jesus’ return at the end of time as a wedding.

By becoming one of us, God started something very new. This explains the other two answers Jesus gives. If you sew new fabric to old fabric, the garment you mend will become worse than it was before you tried to patch it because the new fabric sewn to the old, already shrunk and broken in, will make a bigger tear. Old wineskins, like boda bags that are still around today, once they are empty of wine, dry out and shrivel up. Once the skin has dried up, if new wine is poured into it, the skin bursts, spilling all the wine.

God becoming one of us in Jesus Christ only happened once in the whole history of the world. It is the most important thing that has ever happened in the whole world. Jesus’ becoming one of us changed everything. This reality of God becoming one of us “equals fresh clean cloth and new wine” (Michael Card, Mark: The Gospel of Passion 50). It’s important for us to understand that Jesus isn’t one of many, He is one of a kind. He is fully human, that is, like us in everything except that He never committed a single sin, even though He was tempted, like we are (Heb 4:15), which is why we can trust Jesus completely, and fully divine. As we prepare to receive Him in Holy Communion let's reflect that it is in communion that that we experience that the new wine Jesus came to give us is Himself.

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