Saturday, July 06, 2013

Pour New Wine

Pour New Wine

Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“May God give to you of the dew of the heavens and of the fertility of the earth abundance of grain and wine.  Let peoples serve you, and nations pay you homage; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.  Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”  GEN 27:28-29
“No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.  People do not put new wine into old wineskins.  Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.  Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”  Matthew 9:16-17


The Catholic Worker believes in creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new. (From Easy Essays by Peter Maurin)


Old wineskins.  Old cloaks.  Jesus is equating the Pharisees with these well-worn out items.  But his disciples are being made new.  The Word that Jesus’ disciples learn from him make them into new cloaks, new wineskins so they can protect it and share it with others.
No matter what ways Jacob dressed up to appear like his brother, he was still an old wineskin acting out of selfish motivation rather than the obedient and humble son his  brother Esau represented.
Old ways of thinking are hard to change.  So unless we are willing to stop thinking inside our comfort zone and accept new ideas, then we may not be able to carry the Word to others.
Jesus often uses the images of wine and clothing to get people to think differently.  New wine is served last during the wedding feast at Cana.  Jesus also instructs if a man asks for your coat, give him your shirt, too.


What new way of thinking can you embrace? 
Maybe Pope Francis can give you some clues.  Check out this story in NCR.  For his first trip outside Rome, Pope Francis will travel without the usual pomp and circumstance to the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.  Such a choice is “anything but casual” from this Pope who sides with the people who are poor and marginalized.
The newspaper noted that “Although Francis will release his first encyclical Friday [the Vatican released Lumen Fidei on July 5, 2013], one could argue that his quick trip 48 hours later may actually represent the most powerful teaching moment of his young papacy.”     
The encyclical teaches that “To the extent that they are sincerely open to love and set out with whatever light they can find, they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith.”
How can we be open to the new lessons that we learn from the light of our faith?

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