Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
New wine in new wineskins
Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” Mt 9,14-17
Today, Jesus requires to the Jewish culture of his time to revolutionize its institutions, because they are unsuitable to receive the message of the gospel. It would be like putting new wine in old wineskins or a new patch on an old garment. The newness which Jesus brought was such a wind of freedom, of joy, of love and of forgiveness that it could not be reconciled with the old traditions of the synagogue, related to the circumcision, to the privileges of the priesthood, to the respect of the sabbath and of the law, with all its codicils, including the stoning. The church was born out of the synagogue, but to be a new reality, as a butterfly is born from the cocoon. However, the religious power in Israel has not conceived nor shared this heavinly strategy. It was the reason for the continuous clash of Jesus with the Jewish civilization, which will ultimately lead him to die on the cross at the Calvary. During the centuries, the gospel’s call to change the institutions and the apparatuses has become permanent also for the church in order to make operational during the time the continuous action of the Holy Spirit. The grace and the faith, in fact, as they pass to the hands of the men and are encoded in the institutions, loose quite a lot in terms of forgiveness, freedom, spontaneity and joy. Thanks to God, the council Vatican the second has broken many old wineskins and opened new horizons to the church. It happened to us to be involved in an affair of suffocation of gifts, when, in Italy, it was decided to institutionalize the Renewal in the Spirit, moving it from a spiritual current, as it was at the beginning, to a structured movement. It is our view that the Renewal was founded in order to renew the church, as it had been prophesied by the cardinal Léon-
Joseph Suenens and by Paul VI, but the fact of having been channeled in a movement
has limited it in the gifts of the praise, of the spontaneity and of the joy, of which it was a carrier, and slowly those gifts went a little off, like a chimney to which the draft is reduced. However, we have to hear as addressed to us the exhortation not to put new wine into old wineskins , because we all are exposed to this risk. The Lord, who knows us well, continually urges us to convert and to be renewed. Every day.