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.
This July 4th weekend we gather with family and friends to celebrate our U.S. Independence Day…a time for reflection and renewal. Speakers at parades celebrate the values of community engagement and civic commitment. Family picnics and neighborhood fireworks abound. Of course we observe this particular July 4, 2016 against the backdrop of ongoing international tensions and the Orlando massacre just three weeks ago. Which brings us to today’s gospel passage.
Jesus cautions us against reliance on “old wineskins”—former attitudes and presuppositions which aren’t really helpful in our personal and civic lives. Current situations and struggles within our country (and perhaps within our families) invite us to examine personal prejudices, to grow in understanding and tolerance, to find ways to accept “the other” (whatever that “other” might be in my personal and community life).
What does Jesus’ admonition to “pour new wine into fresh wineskins” look like in my life this weekend?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Life-giving God, remake and reshape my heart into a fresh wineskin. May your new wine of peace and understanding, hope and possibility flow into my attitudes and actions. Help me become an agent of the new life and freedom you long to bring to our waiting world. Amen!
—New Wine ministries