And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good'” (Lk 5:39).
Many of us can relate to holding on to the old. It is more comfortable, it is proven to be tried and true. A favorite wine, a pair of broken-in jeans or shoes, a favorite book read time and again, these are all part of the simple pleasures of life. In Jesus’ parable, he is challenging us to go deeper. He is inviting us to recognize those things that we are holding onto that may be preventing us from more than just a mere existence or minimalist mode of living to instead actualizing the fullness of the potential of ourselves and for others. He is also challenging us to discern the difference between apparent goods and the real good.
We have created patterns in our life that may appear and feel safe, but in actuality may be holding us back from a deeper and fuller experience in life. We may be influenced by cultural or social tremors that may dictate to us that we are too old, that we are too young, that to do this or that is too much of a risk… Each of these examples can be challenging on the material plane of existence, yet while Jesus seeks the best for us in our every day activities, at the same time, he is calling us to go even deeper spiritually.
God the Father is infinite and inexhaustible. Though the Gospel remains the same, there are always new ways, new means to hear the message, to go deeper, so to better be able to practice and share what we have learned. Each generation has to claim the deposit of faith passed on for generations as its own. Our faith is not some inanimate artifact passed on but an organic relationship that matures and deepens age after age.
I had heard of social media and its handful of platforms for some time but had not experienced any of it myself until a few years ago. For just over four years now, I have been sharing these reflections on the Gospels and my journey with Jesus.
I was quite happy reading, learning, and sharing within the four walls of my classroom, but I felt Jesus urging me to reach out a bit more, to go beyond those four walls, to take a risk and try some new wine. I wasn’t sure how to begin but took a few steps and I have been typing away each day to share a reflection like this one that you are reading now ever since.
There was an initial risk in adding one more thing to my schedule in that there would be less time during the school year to be with JoAnn but it helped to open up time in the evening where we began to pray together, read the daily Mass readings, and I would then share my reflection. JoAnn critiqued them and we would discuss what we learned together. So my initial concern was unfounded and in trusting the lead of Jesus, we had more intimate time together immersed in the Word that became even more precious than I would have ever imagined because now that time together is no more.
In what way is God calling you to take a step out of your comfort zone? In what way can you share your faith journey with others? As you take a look at the horizon this morning, take some deep breaths as the sun rises, realize that you have a unique gift or talent to share, a way that Jesus is inviting you to participate in building up his kingdom. A life surrendered to Jesus, lived in collaboration with him, is ever new, ever better. Let us be open to hearing his guidance and be willing to be led by him, to be engaged in a new way we haven’t experienced before, to taste some new wine from a new wineskin!
Photo: Valentine’s Day together 2019. Blessed that we continued to grow closer together each year.