Yesterday’s readings were replaced with those for the Feast of St Thomas so we missed hearing about Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners in the readings for Ordinary time, in which Fr Paul says, Jesus was showing his love, care and compassion rather than sticking to the strict laws imposed by the Pharisees.

In today’s Gospel from Matthew (9:14-17), Fr Paul says we hear two stories about Jesus and the Pharisees that follow on from yesterday.  These stories delve into the difficulties in the relationship between followers of Jesus and the Pharisees. By sharing these two parables, Jesus goes one step further, saying that the time of the wedding feast is now and that, basically, the messiah, the one they’ve been waiting for, has come. John the Baptist, whose followers we hear of at the beginning of this Gospel, by proclaiming that one is coming, is the indication that this new era has come – the bridegroom is at the wedding.

The second parable about the cloth and the wine skins shows there is to be a radical break between Christianity, the new emerging religion, and Judaism, what has gone before. This is part of the troubles between Jesus and the Pharisees. Christianity will build on Judaism. It will take things one step further and it brings a radical break in the relationship of Jesus and the establishment of the day.

For our reflection today, we might just pause and concentrate on the love, care and compassion of Jesus versus being rigorous and sticking to the law; and ask ourselves ‘In what areas of my own life do I need to show the love, care and compassion of Jesus to others?’