In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the author writes that there is a time for all things under heaven. When the disciples of John the Baptist approach Jesus and seem to be complaining about the way His, Jesus, disciples do not fast. Jesus uses this idea in His reply. The laws regarding fasting are not absolute. If a person is sick, or too old or too young they are exempt from the law. There are also special occasions when it is not right to fast. On the other hand, there are also special occasions when it might be right to fast even though it is not required by the law.

Jesus wants His followers to think about the things that they are doing and not just blindly follow laws that may have been written with a particular purpose in mind that no longer applies. I am not advocating any sort of anarchy here! Generally speaking, I am sure that we all agree that laws are necessary to ensure order in our lives. However, they are not meant to control our lives to the point that it is impossible for the Spirit of God to lead us in new ways according to the new situations in which we find ourselves on a constant basis.

Jesus encourages the disciples of John to look behind the meaning of a law and to see what it is trying to preserve and therefore to see whether or not there is room for some flexibility in its interpretation. If we are both true to our origins and true to where the Spirit of God is leading us we will discover that we will be like the wise steward in Matthew’s Gospel who is able to draw from things both new and old (Mt 13:52).

Herein lies the challenge for us today. We live in a world that changes so quickly. Ten years ago very few people had cell-phones – today there are thousands of them everywhere. As Christians we have to be careful to draw from the rich storehouse of our heritage and at the same time adjust our vision to be able to cope with the many changes that confront us on a daily basis.

How well do I know the history of the Church in my country? What about the history of the Church in general? Don’t I think that it is important to have some knowledge of my faith history in order to know where it has come from and to where it is going?

Lord Jesus, you are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all things good. Help me to be able to discern the things I need to hang on to in my faith and those that I can adjust to meet the changing world of my beliefs and life.