September 4, 2020 – Friday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090420.cfm)
By this time, most of us have already adjusted with the “new normal.” The change of lifestyle and adopting to new ways of doing things in this time of pandemic must have gradually taken roots into our way of life. Others must have struggled because of this change yet, we have to because it is needed and it is important.
However, there are many things in our life too that remains unchanged and might not be helpful at all in our relationships. These may include our attitudes, perspective in life and certain beliefs. This could have come from our desire to be secured and assured of today and of what lies ahead of us. Thus, we develop or make a routine so that we become familiar and comfortable in doing things.
This is the reason why we also settle and become comfortable with traditions. We do familiar things, thinking of the same ideas, having the same perspective, 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. Because we are comfortable of the things of the past, we might believe that invitations of change are threats to our desire to be secured, to be certain and to be in controlled.
With this kind of attitude towards change and new things, we could also become rigid, close-minded and even unwelcoming to what is new and unfamiliar to us. Yet, God’s invitation to us is always new and geared towards change and transformation of our heart, mind and of our total person.
In our Gospel today, Jesus tells the Scribes and the Pharisees that “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak. 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.”
Jesus is actually inviting us to welcome what is new and unfamiliar to us and also to be surprised by the challenges and the graces it brings. Again, this is what he means to the Scribes and Pharisees who complained that while the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees fast often and offer prayers, his disciples eat and drink with him.
Indeed, they wondered why his disciples were not following the old practices of the Jews. However, Jesus was not making an excuse for not doing the tradition. Jesus wanted them to realize that there was greater than the tradition and that was Him. Jesus did not reject what was taught and had been practiced for a long time, but to be more welcoming of the new things that have come. His person and very presence among them was something new and something that everyone should capture and cherish.
Definitely, the Spirit of God brings freshness in us and God’s invitations may become uncomfortable for us because God inspires change and renewal. Jesus calls us today to be willing and welcoming to his surprises and invitations of change and renewal because he wants us to be renewed and be restored from our old, broken, sinful and habitual ways.
Thus, I invite you to pause for a moment today, then, reflect and discern this question, “What are those old ways, attitudes, beliefs and habits that I have developed which do not help me, and do not help in building healthy relationships with others and with God?Tweet
As we identify them, let us also ask the grace from the Lord that we may have the courage to face them. Allow also the Lord to change and renew us by embracing the challenges and graces to what new perspective and new life bring. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR