Word of the day

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Reading of the day

A reading from the Book of Samuel
1 Sm 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
“Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
Saul replied, “Speak!”
Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”
Saul answered Samuel: “I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”
But Samuel said:
“Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

Gospel of the day

From the Gospel according to Mark
Mk 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

Words of the Holy Father

What does this mean, that the law has changed? No!. It means, rather, “that the law is at the service of man, that it is at the service of God, and for this reason man must have an open heart”. The attitude of those who say “this is how it’s always been done...”, in reality, is born from “a closed heart”. Instead, “Jesus told us: ‘I will send the Holy Spirit and he will lead you to the full truth”. Thus, “if your heart is closed to the newness of the Holy Spirit, you will never reach the full truth”. Additionally, “your Christian life will be a half-and-half life, a patched up life, mended with new things but on a structure that is not open to the Lord’s voice: a closed heart, because you are not capable of changing the wineskins”. This is the message that the Church gives us today: which Jesus says so firmly: ‘New wine in new wineskins!’. Because, even customs must be renewed in the newness of the Holy Spirit, in the surprises of God. The Lord give us the grace of an open heart, of a heart open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, which can discern what must not change because it is fundamental from what has to change in order to be able to receive the newness of the Holy Spirit. (Santa Marta, January 18, 2016)