1 Samuel 15:16-23
Mark 2:18-22


At one time, someone said to me, “When in Rome, do as Romans do”. The message can be understood that anyone like me who is a visitor should follow the customs or culture of those who live in it.

It seems to be the same message from the Gospel today when Jesus encourages people to behave according to the situation. The attendants do not fast when the bridegroom is still with them. They will fast when the bridegroom is taken away. The same things happen with the unshrinking cloth and old cloak, new wine and old wineskins. The shrunken patch is sewn for the tear of the old cloak; the new wine needs fresh skins.

However, there is more than custom or culture, more than bridegroom and even more than the new cloth or wine. The greater thing is the presence of God, which we sometimes forget or do not acknowledge. At the time, we may behave awkwardly or not be sure what to do. It will be even worse if we challenge others to do inappropriate deeds. The results can be that the tear gets worse, and the wine and the skins are lost. Many things will be destroyed.

Reflecting on that, we are invited to recognise the presence of God in our lives so we can act according to God’s will in a different situation and encourage others to do the same. We can say to ourselves and others, “When in the presence of God, do as the citizen of the Kingdom of God.”

JD Tân T CP is a Vietnamese Passionist who lives and studies further at the Holy Cross Retreat, Templestowe.