July 6, 2019 – Saturday 13th Week in Ordinary Time
From the Gospel Matthew (9:14-17)The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”The Gospel of the Lord.
Who would not want security and certainty? We want these. In our effort to attain security and assurance for today and of what lies ahead, we make things in a routine that we become familiar and comfortable with. This is the reason why we also settle and become comfortable with traditions. We do familiar things, meet familiar people and create familiar events because we have been doing them in the past. In the same way, we also form habitual activities and attitudes.
However, when we become so absorbed and concerned in doing, thinking, seeing and feeling with what is only familiar, then, there is a danger that we might also resist any changes and to be surprised with what is new. And because we are comfortable of the things of the past, we might believe that invitations of change are threats to our security and to certainty.
With this kind of attitude towards change and new things, we also become rigid, close-minded and unwelcoming to what is new and unfamiliar to us. But then, God’s invitation to us is always new and is geared towards change and transformation of our heart and mind, our total person.
Jesus tells the people that “no one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse and neither people put new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the skins will burst, the wine spills out and the skins are ruined. But rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus is actually inviting us to welcome what is new and unfamiliar to us and also to be surprised by God. This is what he means to the disciples of John the Baptist who wondered why they were not following the old practices of the Jews. Jesus was not making an excuse for not doing the old tradition. Jesus wants them to realize that there is greater than the old tradition and that was Him.
The Spirit of God brings freshness in us and His invitations may become uncomfortable for us because God inspires change and renewal. Indeed, Jesus calls us to be willing and welcoming to his surprises and invitations of change because he wants us to be renewed and be restored from our old, broken and sinful ways.
Thus, we may reflect and discern also for ourselves, what are the old ways, beliefs and habits that I have formed which do not really help me but rather worsen my relationships with others and with God?
Remember, when we also become welcoming of Jesus and his call for us, then, we also let God to surprise us. God’s surprise is surely always wonderful and brings life is us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR