REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 3, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” Lk. 5:37-39.
Our gospel reference today on new wine and old wineskins was preceded by the call of Levi the tax collector who was sitting in his office when Jesus called him. His response was so radical that he left everything behind and with great enthusiasm held a feast at his house inviting his friends to meet Jesus.
Jesus was sharing table fellowship with the tax collectors and others whom the Pharisees spurned as sinners and scrupulously avoided. When the scribes and Pharisees saw this, they tried to trap Jesus by bringing up question of fasting. They objected strongly and challenged Jesus. In response, Jesus tells this parable as a way of explaining that He came to call everyone to change and to experience a new transformation of their life.
Levi’s acceptance of Jesus shows that to drink the new wine Jesus offers, we need to have a new heart. WE need to go through a change in our thinking and acting. The Scribes and Pharisee have showed how difficult this may be sine we may have grown to be comfortable with our ways of doing things, even our way of following Jesus.
The “new wine” spoken of in this parable is the grace poured forth from the Cross. Remember that blood and water sprung forth from His side as He hung upon the Cross. This has been symbolically understood as the grace and mercy given to us from the Cross, which is transmitted today through the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. Baptism transforms us into a new creation, and, as a new creation in Christ, we must desire the new wine of the Most Holy Eucharist to be daily transformed by our Lord.
Every day, God offers us new wine through the presence of His Spirit in our heart. Every day, we are given the opportunities to grow in our understanding of God. So, if we are to receive the new wine of the grace of God, we must be ready and willing to abandon our old selves and become new. Change can be hard. Even as evangelized Christians who are already living in the grace of Christ, we will be continually called to a deeper and deeper change in our lives.
Too often we can easily become complacent and content with the life we are living. When that happens, it will hinder our Lord from pouring the new wine of His grace into our souls in ongoing superabundance. How do you deal with change in life? If you want to grow in holiness, you can be certain that change is the only constant in life.
Reflect, today, upon the courage it takes to change. What is it in your life that you may be afraid to change? What “old wine” do you prefer over the “new wine” of God’s grace? What old habits or attachments do you have that our Lord wants you to let go of? Face the changes God wants for you with courage and trust, and You will indeed become more fully the new creation in Christ you are meant to be.
Lord, I know You call me to continual change in my life. Please give me the courage I need to face all that I need to detach from in life and all that hinders me from becoming the glorious new creation You have called me to become. Pour forth Your abundant grace into my life, dear Lord, making me into Your new and glorious creation in grace. Jesus, I trust in You.