Reflection for Friday, September 7, 2001: 22nd week in Ordinary Time.
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" . . . no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins."|New things . . . Do you like new things? Do you seek change out? Are you comfortable with change? Or, like me, do you find change disruptive, difficult, at best uncomfortable?|When I was younger, I think I always associated newness with goodness. Newness meant progress, advancement, growth. But, then, newness became change--parents aging and dying, longtime friends moving away, dreams being dashed by the realities of humanity, work that was once fulfilling becoming stale and confining, beloved sons growing to manhood and beginning the flight away. And, suddenly, I am resisting change, mourning the inevitable losses that accompany it even if it is good change, and sometimes even participating in a kind of anticipatory grieving process that obscures the joy in the present moment. How bad is that?|So, when I looked at today's gospel, I again felt like someone had some secret insight into my heart and head-and had deliberately assigned me a scripture because I needed to grapple with it. While I know that is not the way it occurs, I also know the Spirit has this way of making coincidences opportunities. And, so, here are my reflections . . . and my prayer.|Spirit of Life, am I like the Pharisees of old? Do I turn away from the good news you bring? Do I try to use the new cloth of your love to patch the holes in the pre-existing fabric of my life? Am I guilty of working to put new wine into old wineskins?|At first, I don't see how the lessons you teach apply to me. They apply to others --today's Pharisees, holding on to doctrine, refusing to trust the Spirit to blow and bring love and light.|They are the ones who need this lesson --not I.|I welcome the good news, I rejoice in the transformation you proclaim.|Then, again . . . do I? I hear you calling me to join in a new song, to dance a new dance, to step into tomorrow with "only" your promise. But I hesitate . . . my habits of spirit, mind, and body may be confining, but they are familiar, they are predictable. I know them, and they offer the comfort of illusion. Like those Pharisees of old, I too like my old wine- I cling to it in the face of radical transformation and unpredictability.|And yet . . . I hear . . . and I hunger . . . I reach out my hand, it meets with yours, I find I have to try ...|May it be so.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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