New Wine into Old Wineskins

Sep 5, 2014 | [post_view] Views


Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time



First Reading: 1 COR 4:1-5

Responsorial Psalm: PS 37:3-4, 5-6, 27-28, 39-40

Gospel: LK 5:33-39



“And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.'” Jesus said this after presenting to the people the parable about taking just bits and pieces  from new things and accommodate it with the old. They pour new wine into old wineskins. He was referring to the fresh teachings He taught them which run contrary to the old Jewish practices.  And of course, it ended up with choosing the old teachings and traditions of the Pharisees and rejecting the new teachings of Jesus all together. “The old is good.”

One specific example of a teaching which is a direct opposite to Jewish religious tradition is the practice of fasting. Jesus changed it all together. The people observed that the disciples of Jesus eat and drink while the disciples of John the Baptist and that of the Pharisees fast often. Jesus taught them that while the bridegroom is still with them, the guests will always be feasting. Jesus refers Himself as the bridegroom and the Church as the bride. Eating is actually a special ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke. There are 10 meals that Jesus went to and in these meals Jesus taught essential teachings and made wonders as signs of God’s love for His people. It was only when Jesus was taken away from them, when He was arrested and made to suffer that the disciples fast.

Jesus presented a new teaching about the right reason and the meaning of fasting which runs contrary to the tradition of fasting. The people of course would not accept this understanding of fasting and its practice . They tried at first to pour new wine into old wineskins by accommodating some of Jesus’ teachings only to reject all of it later when they shouted to have Jesus crucified. Just as new wine destroys old wineskins, the new teachings of Jesus would destroy the old. Both will just go to waste. But to those who pour new wine into fresh wineskins, who totally accepted Jesus and all His teachings with a renewed heart, they are the ones who always accompany and eat with Jesus. They always feast.

For us today, are we pouring new wine into old wineskins? Are we just selecting some teachings of Jesus and accomodating them with our old sinful ways?  If we do, we know that we will only end up being destroyed in the process. When we follow Jesus, we cannot  make compromises with Him. It is all or nothing. If we want to always “eat and drink” with Jesus, to experience the abundance of life He brings, then we need to totally accept Him with hearts renewed. This is actually saying that we pour new wine into fresh wineskins.



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