Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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Lectionary: 83
Read the Gospel: Mark 2:18-22

Gospel Summary

The gospel begins with the question of fasting.  It was important in Jewish culture to fast, and so the Pharisees ask Jesus why his disciples do not fast.  Jesus responds using the image of the bride and bridegroom.  When you are at the wedding feast, you do not fast.  It is a time to celebrate.  Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church, the bride.  There is a feast when the bridegroom is present! 

The closing verses of the gospel use the image of old and new; of new cloth and new wineskins.  Jesus is telling us that if we are to follow him and be a Christian, this requires a new outlook and a new life.  Our faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is to be held and treasured, to be savored and used. 

Reflection for Families 

Many of us know what fasting is all about from the Lenten tradition of “giving up something.”  And when Easter Sunday comes, there is the joy of finally being able to partake and eat whatever it was that we did without for forty days. We celebrate!  Today many people are trying to watch what they eat, to “eat healthy” for a better life.  Even so, there are still those special occasions when it is ok to stray from a food plan, eat some fat-filled and calorie-laden delectable dish to celebrate. 

Food and eating is such an important part of American culture.  Think of the majority of our celebrations — they tend to center around food and a festive meal where family and friends gather. 

Jesus too also gathered to celebrate and eat with his disciples. So many of the miracles and parables take place during a dinner.  Jesus wants us to celebrate when he is present among us.  Jesus is present with us today in the Eucharist.  This story also reminds us of the day to come when we will once again be united with Jesus at the heavenly banquet.  That will be a day of joyful feasting and celebration. 

Bringing the Gospel into Your Family

Each Sunday, when we receive Jesus present in the Eucharist, we are welcoming the bridegroom, we are welcoming Jesus.  What is one way that you can celebrate with your family the presence of Jesus, the bridegroom, which you received at Communion?  At First Communion, there are often big parties to celebrate receiving Jesus for the first time.  What kind of celebration can you do to remember that Jesus comes to you each time you receive the Eucharist? 

Discussion Starters

  1. One thing I can do to feast because Jesus is present with us now is . . . .
  2. One thing I can do “new and different” because I am a disciple of Jesus is . . . .
  3. One thing I can do to fast to await the coming of Jesus again is . . . .