God is New, always New

January 18, 2021 – Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011821.cfm)

There seems to be a constant friction between what is new and what is old. An old tradition may feel threatened by new developments in the culture. We also find old people and those who live in the old comparing the glory of the past from the present. To compare what was better in the past with what is in the present is surely not bad. This, in fact, it is a challenge and an opportunity to become a better version in the present.

These are abstract ideas that may be difficult to understand. Yet, there is something important here that we are invited to listen and to grow in our faith. There is a danger as one grows old. This danger lies in the attitude of a heart that has grown old and has become rigid, uncompromising and rejecting towards what is new and fresh.

We may find this in ourselves when we settle to what is only familiar to us, to what is only routine and to what is only comfortable. This attitude also makes us exclusive, close-minded and cold. Like for instance, having a group of friends is good, yet, to limit ourselves in that kind of relationship and become exclusive may lead us to become rejecting towards others who do not belong to our circle. When we settle to our own comforts and familiarity, we may tend to become selfish and not consider others but only ourselves.

This is the reason also why we fall into bad habits and even addictions. These are repeated actions, meaning, they become part of a cycle in us. Because of the seemingly comfort that they bring in us, we fall on them again and again. Moreover, when our heart also becomes too absorbed of ourselves, then, we become reactive and even hostile towards others who may challenge to change us or to make us adapt something new.

This is the message that Jesus was saying to those who objected regarding the actions of his disciples. It was not that Jesus disrespected the old tradition of fasting or has trampled that revered custom. No! Jesus said,

“No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

The very presence of Jesus is the new cloth and the new wine. His person and his friendship was what was being offered. Yet, the limited awareness of the people of Jesus’ divine presence prevented them to embrace and accept Jesus. What they only saw was the threat that they felt from Jesus against their old tradition.

Indeed, the presence of the Lord and his invitations may become threats to us when we also become reactive and when we tend to value more the rubrics, the physical appearances and the familiarity of things to us rather than the very source of all things, God. This is not just about tradition and practices, but also our sins and even beliefs and prejudices that have made our heart to become rigid and apathetic.

What Jesus calls us today is to be always attentive to his presence and to enjoy the freshness and the newness that he brings in us. Jesus also brings surprises in life that will surely bring changes and renewal in the way we live our life, relate with others and look at things. Indeed, God is new, and always new.

Jesus asks us today to make our heart open and welcoming of his presence revealed even in our daily affairs. Be more conscious of his presence today and enjoy his presence to bring new perspectives, to create challenges and to inspire movements in us. May we always discover the joy and the peace of being renewed each day. Hinaut pa.

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