Who Wants That Garment!


“No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse”.(9: 16)

I know a certain man who wore only old shirts mended with patches of new cloth stitched on to them. (I am afraid, I have mentioned him in another context earlier.)

In the beginning of my career as a young bank manager, an immensely rich man, dressed in rags as described above, came to meet me. Taking him for a beggar, I kept him waiting outside my cabin until I was free. When he came in, he unbundled onto my table, like a magician, high value currency notes running into several lakhs, for depositing with the bank.

Later, as we became closer, I understood that he had huge wealth in properties and cash. But nobody should know he was wealthy— beggars, seekers of financial help, poor cousins, Income Tax….,He had a car with driver. But never travelled in it. His wife had permission to use it, subject to conditions. Once she went out with the driver, never to return. At last, he died like a beggar , without anyone to care for him.

He had the old attitude of hoarding and hiding his money from others especially from the government, and could not cope with the new concept of using the money for himself and for the benefit of others after paying taxes.

It made me realise the import of this teaching of Jesus that the old attitude and the new order will never go together.

“ Why do we and the Pharisees fast often but Your disciples do not fast”, the disciples of John asked Jesus. The example of cloth came up as answer to this question.

When rituals are practised and fasting is undertaken without realising the meaning, it will not go in tandem with Jesus’ gospel of total transformation.

“ Behold I make all things new” –attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, life style…. everything. There is no option like part of it old and part of it new.

Jesus exhorts us to discard the old and wear the fresh, un-torn attire of the new Testament that makes everything new.

George Joseph Trivandrum

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