Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, January 18
We Must Become As a New People, Changing Our Old Way of Thinking and Becoming Open and Flexible to All That God Wishes to Share with Us and Is Asking of Us.
We hear in today’s Gospel, “…no one pours new wine into old wineskins…” Our Lord is giving us comparisons between old and new cloth, old and new wineskins. At first glance, we begin to ask ourselves the question: “How do we interpret these sayings? What is it that Jesus is teaching us today?”
In a previous meditation some time ago, I wrote about applying our Lord’s comparisons of cloth and wine skins to our life of faith in today’s modern culture. As a result, we need to first look inside ourselves and reflect upon how we, both you and I, respond to what God is asking of us in the journey of life upon which we find ourselves traveling today.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples about the problem of the “closed mind” that refuses to learn new things. Jesus used an image familiar to the audience of His day – new and old wineskins.
In Jesus’ time, wine was stored in wineskins, not bottles. New wine that was poured into skins was still fermenting. The gases exerted gave pressure, and new wine skins were elastic enough to take the pressure, but old wine skins easily burst because they were hard and inflexible.
In essence, Jesus is asking us to expand our minds and open our hearts to the teachings of His Truth.
Throughout the course of human history, wars and battles have been waged because of closed minds and misunderstandings. Families and communities and whole nations have been torn apart because people refused to open their hearts and listen to what God was saying to us.
Just look at our own history in the United States and how the Civil War back in the mid 1800’s tore this nation apart, brother fighting against brother, all because we failed to listen to God’s teaching on what it truly meant to recognize and love our neighbor!
Part of our nation proceeded with an arrogance that enslavement was necessary for the economic solvency of their southern plantations. They embraced the belief that slavery was a moral necessity, even though it smacked in the face of brotherly love, even though it ran counter to the teachings of Christ which we find in the Beatitudes, and in the idea that each person is our neighbor, deserving of our love.
As a consequence, the lack of respect for the dignity of life for the African people ran contrary to the Law of God, and our nation had to endure a great civil war in order for our country to become once again united under the banner of freedom for everyone, regardless of race and the color of one’s skin.
For God does not judge His children by how they appear on the outside, but rather by what He sees on the inside – within the heart, mind and soul of each and every one of us!
And because of our arrogance, because of the prideful way in which many of His children carry themselves in this life, because of disobedience to His will, beginning with the disobedience of our first parents, God sent His own Son to offer Himself, offering His own Body and Blood as an unblemished Sacrificial Lamb to atone for our sinfulness.
For as we read in the Letter to the Hebrews today, Jesus, as the Eternal High Priest, “…offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” And the offering which He made was Himself being nailed to a tree!
Sadly, however, as we listen to the evening news or read the headlines in our local papers or on the internet, many peoples and governments throughout the world continue to fail in their recognition of what it means to be children of God. They fail to open their minds and their hearts, remaining inflexible to that which God asks from each of them.
And such failures can only result in divisions between peoples, political parties and nations!
For if we fail to learn, if we fail to change ourselves so that our responses may be in accord with God’s will, then we shall become like “old wineskins” which burst due to the fermentation of new wine; we shall be like old cloth which becomes even more torn, when patched with a piece of new, “unshrunken cloth”.
In order for us to be as “new cloth”, we must first be a people who are willing to be opened to and accepting of all that our Church teaches us; we must first be willing to embrace God’s will in our lives, in place of all the other materialistic and secular gods which exist in our world today.
We must become as a new people, for only, in this way, can God then pour into us the new wine of His Truth, a Truth which can only be accepted when we freely open our minds and our hearts to His teaching. And for this to happen, we must first change our old way of thinking; we must be like “fresh wineskins”, becoming open and flexible to all that God wishes to share with us and expects of us.
Let us pray that Jesus may fill us with His Holy Spirit, guiding us to an ever closer, loving relationship with the Eternal God who loves both you and me beyond all measure of human understanding. And in this most intimate of all unions, may we always find the peace and joy which can only fill our hearts in knowing, loving and serving Him – in all that He asks of you and me.
“…no one pours new wine into old wineskins…” So then, let each of us rid ourselves of the old and put on the new, open to and accepting of all that our Most Loving Savior, our Eternal Bridegroom asks from each and every one of us.
For regardless of what differences may exist between peoples, political parties and nations, each and every one of us is a child of God, brothers and sisters of the same Eternal Father! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.” (Mark 2:21)
- “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins…Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mark 2:22ac)
- “In the days when he was in the Flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” (Hebrews 5:7)
- “…keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and the ordinances and statutes he has enjoined on you.” (Deuteronomy 6:17)
- “For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
- “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.’” (John 14:23)
- “For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
- “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14)
- “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15)
Prayer for the Day
“Glory to you, O Lord our God.
Your Love calls us to be a holy people.
By calling us to share our many and diverse gifts
with which You have deigned to bless us,
we share in Your mission.
“We ask You, O Lord,
to bless us with Your Loving Presence,
molding us into a community of faithful people.
Nourish us by Your Word and Sacrament
that we may grow into the Image of Jesus, Your Son.
“Through the power of Your Holy Spirit,
heal us that we, in turn, may heal the wounded.
Form us to be obedient and faithful instruments of love,
justice, and peace in our land, and send us
to proclaim Your saving work by word and example.
“Renew us, Lord,Anonymous
that we, in turn, may renew the face of the Earth. Amen.”