Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
At points in our lives, we have most likely been challenged to adapt spiritually, personally or professionally. This is exactly what is happening to the disciples. Christ is asking them to stop clinging to the old wineskins and embrace the new wine, the ever evolving work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
* How can we be as elastic a vehicle as the new wineskin in our own times of change, and how can we be more intentional so that we are open to the Holy Spirit working in our lives?
In his book, “Sabbath”, Wayne Muller speaks of our natural world providing an organic example to us of the “seasons” and how each of them has a purpose in the overall functioning of our earth. There is a time for growth, activity, and dormancy. Our sun and our tides follow these laws of nature. Each is inextricably tied to the other.
* How well do we follow these laws of nature to allow ourselves to grow, produce, and quietly reflect?
—Jenni and Dan O’Brien. Dan serves as regional development director for the Wisconsin Province Jesuits. Jenni is the mother of two young children and a psychotherapist specializing in depression, anxiety, and adjustment issues with teens and adults.
O God our Creator, from your provident hand we have received our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God, and your Son, Jesus Christ. Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of this world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church; and the freedom of conscience for all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome—for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us—this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—United States Catholic Bishops, Prayer for Liberty