Jesus, the New Wine
Jesus tells us that “new wine must be put into fresh skins.” In the Lord’s time wine was not kept in bottles like today but in skins. When the new wine was placed in a skin, it continued to ferment, producing carbon dioxide. And old skin do not have the elasticity of a new one and so it would burst and the wine is lost.
What is the meaning and the messages of this Gospel reading for us? Jesus is telling us: stay fresh, stay young in spirit. Be open to challenges and new ideas.
Old people are afraid, get tired easily, find it had to adjust to change. They prefer the status quo. They are afraid to risk, have no more drive. That’s why they say: “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” you can’t correct and old tree anymore.
But young people like challenges. They are courageous to the point of being reckless. They want to prove themselves. Take risks, sacrifice even die for something they believe in.
The Gospel of Jesus is this new wine; new way of life which requires a new mind and a new attitude; new values, new courage and new enthusiasm. Jesus wants us to have this new fire in our hearts. I wonder if you have this fire within you?
In the Inquirer Supplementary last Sunday, entitled: “Against all odds.” It’s the story of Grace Padaca, this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Government Service. At age 3 she was afflicted with polio that made her mobility difficult. She had to overcome teasing in elementary and high school; instead of being discouraged it pushed her to study more. She graduated magna cum laude in college! The people of Isabela urged her to run. But she had no political machiner, no funds. The grassroot support made all this possible. At first she ran for a seat in Congress but lost. The second time she ran as Governor against a formidable political clan and won by an overwhelming majority. She was again re-elected. She had to battle a stagnant economy, illegal logging and corruption. In all these, Grace did not give up. She was brave and persevering. She accepted the challenges with courage. Indeed, she is an amazing grace!
This is the spirit of our Gospel today. Keep your flame alive and burning bright!
Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote an energizing poem “Ullyses.” At this point in his life, Ullyses is now an old man. Though old and his youth and strength well spent still he would say:
“We are not now that strength which in old day
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.
One equal temper of heroic hearts;
Made weak by time and fate, but strong and will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Be brave. Be hopeful. Shun pessimism and cynicism. I saw a powerful icon that can teach us: a lighted candle giving and sharing its light to another unlighted candle. Be that candle. Be that light. Be that flame. Burn for Christ!