Wisdom and Faith
Opening Question: Why is it easy to trust someone people and not others? Has you ever lost trust in someone? How hard it to get trust back?
First Reading: Hosea 2:14b, 15b, 19-20
Once a man fell madly in love with a beautiful woman. The woman was so beautiful, in fact, all his friends couldn't stop talking about her beauty. Every unmarried man from miles around wanted to marry her. But, unlike his friends, that one man was fortunate enough to have her hand in marriage.
Many stories stop there with the phrase "and they lived happily ever after." But the man was not happy. His wife loved the attention of others. She did everything to say to others: "Look at me! Don't you think I'm pretty?"
Her attitude and actions made the man very angry. "Why can't you be happy just living with me? I love you very much. Why don't you love me?" the man yelled at his wife.
As much as he hated what she did, the man loved his wife and chased after her to get her attention. He would do anything to win her heart back and make her happy. That man was Hosea, the prophet, who preached to the people. They were like Hosea's wife, saying to the other countries and people, "Look at me!" instead of looking to God. And God was like Hosea, yelling at his people, threatening his people, but pleading with his people to come back. Prophets like Hosea would preach two messages: "Hate the sins of the people, but love the sinner." Jesus preached the same message.
Bridging Question: Have you had to give up something for a better thing? Have you ever just enjoyed what you had at the moment? What's the difference?
Gospel: Mark 2:18-22
The followers of John and the Pharisees had certain days of the week when they would not eat food. So, someone asked Jesus, "Why do the followers of John and the Pharisees refuse to eat food on certain days of the week, while your followers eat every day?"
"Should any guest refuse to eat at a wedding reception when bridegroom is there?" Jesus replied. "No! When the groom is there, everyone eats. But soon, the groom will be taken from his reception. Then, the guests will stop eating."
"No one sews a new, unwashed cloth patch onto old clothing," Jesus continued. "If they do, the new piece won't stretch like the old clothing. The new piece will tear off and make the hole larger than before."
"No one puts new wine into old wine skins," Jesus added. "If they do, the new wine will ferment, stretch the wine skins more than they can handle, and burst the wine skins. Both the wine and the wine skins will be ruined. No! New wine should be poured into new wine skins."
Kelsey and Candice were identical twin sisters. They looked so much alike you could not tell them apart just by looking at them. But, they acted so differently, you knew instantly who was who.
Kelsey was the intense sister. She had goals. And she worked hard to meet them. She was the best in her class, the best on her soccer team, the best helper at home. Kelsey would give up things for her goal. No food to lose weight and fit into a dress. No sleep to study for a test. No snacks so she could save money. Kelsey had few friends, but many accomplishments.
Candice was the party sister. She could care less about goals. Her job, she thought, was to enjoy life today. She wasn't the best in her class, the best on her team, or the best at home. She did care about her friends, however. They meant more to her than accomplishments or goals. Friends were the best treasure.
Between the two, they fought all the time. "Why do you always watch TV or play on the computer? Why do you have friends over all the time? Why don't you study and become a better student?" Kelsey demanded from her sister.
"Why do you complain about me?" Candice shot back. "Why should I be like you? I'm not going to give up my time or what I like to do so I can be like you! I would miss out on too many parties!"
Like trying to patch something old with something new, the situation was impossible. The girls could not agree on anything.
One day, the two had the ultimate fight. Kelsey was trying to study quietly in her room, while Candice played loud pop music. "Turn down the music!" Kelsey yelled. "I'm trying to study!" Candice just turned the music up more. Kelsey got so frustrated she took her book and threw it at Candice's boom box. The boom box was hit by the book and came crashing to the floor. Bamm! Plastic parts from the boom box flew everywhere as the music stopped. "That should take care of the problem," Kelsey said with a sneer. Of course, it didn't.
Candice ran over to Kelsey's desk, took her notebook, and began to tear pages from it. Kelsey grabbed Candice's arm and both went tumbling to the floor. After a few moments, both stopped to catch their breathes. Candice sat up and asked "What were we doing?" At first, Kelsey was going to shout something back, but the word "we" stopped her. We were doing this, Kelsey thought, both of us. Why?
"Candice," Kelsey replied, "we've just too different."
"But we have to live together," Candice said. "After all, we are sisters."
At that point, both sisters realized that, while they were different, they complimented each other. They could learn from each other. Kelsey could loosen up and make new friends. Candice could work harder and become a better student. As they grew up, they became more alike. Both became good students. Both became popular.
There's a time to give up things for something better, like the play time you give up to study. But there are times to play and have fun! The followers of John and the Pharisees were too serious. They gave up food so they could prepare for coming of God's Kingdom. But the followers of Jesus did not give up food, because they had the Kingdom! They had Jesus!
There are times to sacrifice and times to have fun. We must be wise enough to know when to give up and when to enjoy. Let us pray that God gives us that wisdom.
Closing Question: What was the hardest thing you ever gave up? Was it worth it? What was the best time you ever enjoyed? Was it worth it? How do you know when to give up something and when to enjoy it?