Monday of the 2nd Week of the Year

Mk 2:18-22

The Question about Fasting


Jesus is not against fasting as such. There are very good reasons why a person might fast. He might deny himself things he likes for the sake of discipline, to be certain that he is the master of them and not they of him, to make sure that he never grows to love them so well that he cannot give them up.. he might deny himself comforts and pleasant things so that, after self-denial, he might appreciate them all the more. One of the best ways to learn to value our homes is to have stay away from home for a time. And one of the best ways to appreciate God’s gifts is to do without them for a period.

The second part of the gospel tells that Jesus knew well that he was coming with a message that was startlingly new; and he also knew that his way of life was refreshingly different from that of the orthodox rabbinical teacher.

Jesus speaks of the danger of sewing a new patch on an old garment, the word used means that the new cloth had never been shrunk; and being much stronger than the old, it tore the old apart. There are times when “patching” is utterly useless; what is wanted is the complete abandonment of the old and the acceptance of the new.

Moreover, wine was kept in wineskins. When these skins were new, they had certain elasticity; as they grew old they became hard and unyielding. New wine is still fermenting; it gives off gases; these gases cause pressure; if the skin is new it will yield to the pressure. But if it is old and hard and dry it will explode and wine and skin will be lost.

As we grow older we generally develop a constitutional dislike of that which is new and unfamiliar. We grow very unwilling to make any adjustments in our habits and ways of life. Jesus is challenging us to retain the adventurous mind. (Fr. Louie Punzalan, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


A middle-aged woman with pleasant disposition and figure was asked how she maintained her good looks, “I don’t eat on Fridays” she answered. The woman must be a Catholic. But Catholics or not, many people have discovered that one way to make our bodies trim and good looking is fasting. Fasting, especially in the midst of eat-as-much restaurants, is good for our figure and beauty.

Beauty and health are good reasons why we should learn the art of fasting. But for Christians there is a higher and spiritual value that fasting helps to bring about. The early Christians prepared themselves for any great event by way of intense fasting. Christmas and Easter celebrations were preceded by fasting; baptism was deeply experienced by catechumens because of the fast that they and the community undertook prior to the rites. \fasting was closely associated with prayer and penance. When someone or a community fasted in the past, it was because they wanted to sharpen their spirits so that they could intensely feel the coming of God into their lives through the sacraments. Fasting was physically feeling hunger and emptiness, so that one could welcome the love, the forgiveness and healing of God into his/her life.

A modern Christian appreciates the values that his/her Church has treasured and has proven effective and practices them according to the present situations and circumstances, for instance, he/she knows the meaning of fasting one hour before receiving Holy Communion. He/she knows what there is fasting and abstinence twice a year: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, fasting of the eyes, fasting from tsismis, from too much smoking and drinking (including softdrinks), from watching TV too much, etc. are also modern ways of fasting.

When sometimes we experience dryness in prayer and in faith, why don’t we try fasting from one lunch or supper? And if we want beauty and health of soul and body, how about regular fasting and prayer? (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


…..Fasting from sin and vice is the real fasting and is the heart of the law. We let go if familiar defenses and be vulnerable to the Lord’s work, of comfortable titles and self-concepts in order to be Christ-like and of self-serving interests in order to let in Christ to whom we pledge our services. We say no in order to say yes. (Frt. Judy Banes, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Magdaginot” is a Cebuano term which means save up or be thrifty. Parents would often tell this to their children especially in crisis moments like our times now. Being thrifty is something that should be encouraged on everyone. We have to learn to patch cloths up.

But when it comes to our relationship with the Lord, being thrifty just won’t work for God asks us to give our all. Saul in the first reading was bewing thrifty and even practical. He obeyed the Lord’s command only that he improved on it a little bit. He saved some things up and maybe he thought “saying naman ito.” But the Lord did not like what Saul did.

When I was a seminarian I heard in one of our discussions that having a girlfriend at that particular point in our lives would be unfair to all parties concerned, for a seminarian can only give half of himself to the girl and half of himself to his formation and therefore his efforts would always be half-hearted for he is a “divided” person. God wants us, whole and complete. I was told that a craz3ed person is very strong for he/she has lost his/her ability to be “thrifty” about anything. He/she gives his/her all in everything. Like a vehicle that loses its brakes, a crazed person will just run through anything that is on its way.

Maybe it is high time that we fall truly, madly, crazily in love with Jesus. We just cannot survive on a patched up faith. Let us be fools for the sake of Christ that that is we learn to surrender to Him, to have faith without brakes and that way we can say with St. Paul that it is no longer I that lives but Crhist lives in me (Fr. Dan Barril, SVD Bible Diary 2012).


January 18, 2016 Monday

When Jesus explained why his disciples were not fasting, he was presenting a new understanding of what fasting could mean- as long as he was with them there was no need for fasting. He equated his presence to that of a bridegroom at his wedding feast, an occasion for rejoicing and making full use of his time with them. That special time would end soon and then they would fast. They would plunge into the hard work of spreading the gospel, risking their lives and experiencing rejection at times. The disciples would be doing more than fasting as they face the demands and challenges of being disciples and witnesses of the word.

Together with this view on fasting, Jesus explained also the need for a new mind-set for a new world order. The new wine represents a renewed life that is expected to create a new society, a new environment (wineskin). The new wine is the renewed spirit in the Christian that would impel him to create changes, to make all things new. The old wineskins, old habits and lifestyles that are incompatible with a life of faith, have to be discarded. Likewise, the old wine, the old content of the sinful past, must be removed.

We are then challenged to become new wine and to create new wineskins. The new year is just three weeks old. We have plenty of time to renew, and make new of ourselves and the world we live in. (Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD | (CT Manila Bible Diary 2016)



Reflection for January 19, Monday of the Second Week; Mark 2:18-22

Reflection: What is Jesus desire for you? It’s to transform you so that you could become fresh wineskin so that He could pour Himself into you. Jesus is the new wine and you are the old wineskin but Jesus doesn’t want you to become old wineskin which cannot accept His renewing presence. He wants you to be renewed or to be the fresh wineskin so that He could come into your life.

What makes us old wineskins or what makes us unworthy for the presence of Jesus? It’s our many sins, these many sins makes us unworthy to Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesus is also offering Himself to us so that he could cleanse us and make us new once again

Will you let Jesus into your life so that He could make things new for you? Or you will continue to shut your heart to Jesus? The choice is yours, if you want to remain contained in the old wineskin of sin or you allow Jesus to renew you and liberate you from sin.

The correct choice is always to allow Jesus entry into your life and to allow Jesus to make things new in your life once again. – Marino J. Dasmarinas



Monday, January 18, 2016

Reflection for January 18, Monday of the Second Week; Mark 2:18-22

Reflection: A renewed catholic has said that his life was never the same since he had a personal relationship with Jesus. He said that since he met Jesus he was always joyful.  And even if there were problems he always ensures that it would never ruin his day. His reason for his newfound joyfulness and happiness is his re-energized faith in Jesus.

Fasting in the context of our gospel reading for today is connected with self-sacrifice or self-denial. Which is actually not bad because it strengthens a person’s faith and dependence on God. But there is something that is very much supreme than fasting and it’s no other than Jesus! If Jesus is within our lives already there’s no more need for superficial fasting.

For the reason that Jesus will teach us to fast without anyone else knowing it and this is the more important form of fasting: fasting that is not for show and fasting that is not seen and known by anyone except Jesus.

The disciples of John and the Pharisees in our gospel were after the exterior fasting. Fasting that could be seen by our naked eyes and Jesus surely hates this kind of superficiality. If we are already with Jesus we would not be concerned anymore about superficial fasting. For the simple reason that we will fast without broadcasting it for the world to hear and see.

Nobody will know about this kind of fasting except you and Jesus. And this would surely happen once you learn how to surrender yourself to the Love, Mercy and Compassion of Jesus. – Marino J. Dasmarinas



NEW WINE INTO FRESH WINESKINS – I have no experience in making wine. Perhaps none of us who live in the country has any either, contrary to the claims of one company which does not even have a vineyard. But I have some experience about patching things like cloths, and both leather and rubber balls.

Back in high school seminary days, we had what we innocently referred to as the “ball room.” No, it is not the place where people dance. It was nothing but a small back room where we kept all the balls we played with, and that meant basketball, football, softball and volleyball.

The ball room in-charge would take care of repairing old, torn balls that would be the end product of our daily skirmishes at the playing field or court. Torn balls were never thrown away. They were used to repair old balls as, by experience, one would never patch an old ball with a piece taken from a new ball. It just doesn’t work. It would first of all form a bulge and would eventually destroy the old ball sooner than expected. New patch for new balls; old patch for old balls. That was the way it worked.

I guess adaptation would be the term for this. In real life, change is inevitable, but the way change is to be applied has to consider the issue of gradual adaptation. Prudence is connected to this. One does not ride roughshod on the old by patching whatever is the latest, the newest and the faddish.

St. Augustine has a beautiful prayer that reflects the necessary gelling and integration of both the old and the new. In turn, it reflects the marriage of both the Old and the New Testaments that the Lord Himself has done. He did not come to destroy the old, but to perfect it. “Late have I loved You, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new!”

What is old is not necessarily bad, and what is new is not necessarily good. The key is integrating the new with the old, and this requires adaptation with a lot of prudence. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What is your attitude toward changes? Do you welcome them or do you avoid them?

Lord, grant me prudence and wisdom to adapt the good in the new and throw away the bad in the old.



Sunday, January 17, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MARCOS 2:18-22. PARA SA MGA KRISTIYANOS, UNSA MAN ANG ANGAY UNAHON, ANG PAGKUMBIRA O ANG PAGPUASA? Ang pagkumbira ug ang pagpuasa pareho nga maayo, basta kini himoon sa saktong panahon, paagi ug katuyoan. Angay kitang magkumbira panahon sa piyesta, kasal, adlaw nga natawhan, o kaha kon kita makadawat og grasya ug angay’ng magpasalamat sa Dios. Ang pagkumbira mahimong daotan kon kini butahon panahon sa kalisod ug kasubo, o kon kita mangaon nga walay pagtagad sa mga tawong gigutom. Sa laing bahin, ang pagpuasa angay nga buhaton panahon sa kwaresma, kanus-a kita gidapit nga modisiplina sa kaugalingon. Angay usab kitang magpuasa panahon sa katalagman ug kalisdanan, agi’g pakighiusa sa mga naglisod nga mga kaigsoonan. Ang pagpuasa mahimong daotan kon kini pakitang-tao lamang. Posted by Abet Uy

(English) For Christians, WHAT SHOULD FIRST, THE PAGKUMBIRA OR THE FAST? The feasting and fasting are good, as long as it is done on time, manner and purpose. We should magkumbira during the festival, wedding, birthday, or when we receive grace and ought to thank God. Pagkumbira be bad if it was blind in his distress and sorrow, or if we eat without paying attention to the hungry. On the other hand, fasting should be done during Lent, when we are invited to discipline themselves. We should be fast in times of disaster and trouble later, in solidarity with impoverished brethren. Fasting can be wrong if it is just veneer.



Monday of the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time

I Sam 15:16-23; Mk 2:18-22

Fasting and Feasting

It is not an uncommon sight in our culture to see children reverentially bowing and touching the feet of their parents as they leave their homes. For someone who sees this for the first time, it can look a grandiose act of respect. But do the parents necessarily feel respected by this exhibition of respect? Not all of them would think so. While the hands easily seek and find the feet of the parents, in quite some cases, hearts neither seek nor find them. When Pope Francis hugged and kissed a very badly disfigured man, the whole world paused and took notice because it was undeniably an act of the heart.

From the Gospel story given for our reflection today, it seems that Jesus did not insist that his disciples should fast. Not that Jesus had anything particularly against fasting. A fasting mouth gains nothing, if our heart does not fast as well – fast becomes meaningful only when it strengthens the heart to say no to hatred, prejudice, indifference, etc. In other words, fast should lead to feast – feasting God and our fellow men.

Jesus did not insist on fasting because he knew that fasting had become an alibi for not feasting. For many of us, fasting is far easier than feasting. Will we not rather avoid a celebration if that will spare me the embarrassment of having to greet my brother who I am not in good terms with? In diverse ways, we prefer fasting over feasting? Jesus is the Lord of the feast, not fast. A disciple of Jesus should be able to feast anyone, anytime! Dr George Kulangara CMI



January 18, 2016

REFLECTION: Both of today’s readings focus on the idea of compromise. King Saul decided he would compromise with God’s strict orders and come up with his own watering-down of them. But the prophet Samuel would have none of that: “Obedience is better than sacrifice,” he says. In the gospel reading, we meet with the same idea. Jesus is adamant: there is no compromise possible between the Old Order of the past (symbolized here by the Pharisaic practice of fasting and John the Baptist’s similar practice) and the New Order inaugurated by Jesus. Here Jesus compares himself to mankind’s bridegroom, an image of infinite richness. When the bridegroom erupts on the human scene, he says, the time for fasting is over. Who would fast at a wedding? Between Christ and anything else, if there is compromise (we call it nowadays “inculturation of the Gospel), it must be entirely one-sided on the part of what is being “evangelized.” This means that some things (v.g. divorce, abortion, gender inequality) simply cannot combine with Christianity. This is something that many of our contemporaries find difficult to understand. Yet, a person is either married or single before the law; there is no in-between civil status…


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 2nd Week of the Year

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