September 3, 2021
Friday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor—Memorial
“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.’” Luke 5:37–39
This short parable comes at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He just called Levi, the tax collector, to become one of His disciples, and then Levi invited Jesus to dine at his home with other tax collectors and sinners. When the scribes and Pharisees saw this, they objected and challenged our Lord. 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.
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 so as to be daily transformed by our Lord.
Many of the Church Fathers point out that the “old wine” that many prefer is a reference to those who wanted to continue living according to the old law. This is especially true of the scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking this parable. Jesus was bringing them a new teaching and preparing them for a new grace. But they rejected it, preferring the old life they were living.
One thing this tells us is that if we are to receive this 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. We must become new creations each and every day, growing, being more fully transformed, changing our ways, giving up the old and embracing that which is ever new. This requires a certain amount of courage as we come face-to-face with the daily need to be changed by grace. It means daily death to our old self and daily becoming a new creation in God.
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.
My most merciful 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.
Scripture Meditations for Ordinary Time
Saint of the Day – Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor
Featured image above: The Feast in the House of Levi by Paolo Veronese, via Wikimedia Commons
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Ordinary Time: September 1–November 27, 2021
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