Homily for Friday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time | Please click here for the readings.
How many times in our lives have we encountered a moment of change and we raise an objection saying: “But this is how we’ve always done it!”? Those of us who have been in ministry for a long period of time are no stranger to that phrase, it comes about in the Church more times than not. Typically, those words are spoken when we are resistant to something new, hesitant to accept some change, or uncertain about a new perspective. That is kind of what is happening in today’s Gospel.
We have just heard Jesus challenging the Pharisees who have rebuked Him because His disciples do not follow the customary fast or offer the usual prayers. In response, Jesus tells this parable about the new cloak and the new wine. He uses this as an opportunity to again point out to the Pharisees that they don’t know everything – something that Jesus has done time and time again throughout the Gospels. The parables that Jesus tells in this exchange are meant to show the scholars of the Law that something new is happening in their midst and they’re not recognizing God at work. They fail to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, as the Bridegroom of the Church. Basically, they’re so focused on fulfilling the prescriptions of the Law that they are failing to see the very Author of the Law standing in front of them.
Are we missing Jesus standing in front of us? Is there a part of our lives that the Lord may be inviting us to change yet we have become so stuck in a routine or a habit that we are resistant to that change?
Often times, our hearts can become those old cloaks or those old wine skins. And, even though the Lord wants to pour new wine into our hearts, He can’t because we won’t let Him transform that heart first. So many times in our lives we’re not always open to allowing God to enter our hearts and prepare it into those new wine skins. What’s holding us back? If we want a taste of that new wine that the Lord wants to give us, we have to give Him permission to enter our hearts and transform them from the inside out. Only He can do that. That’s not something we can do on our own. Today, as we receive His Body and Blood, will we give Jesus that permission or will we continue to be like the Pharisees and fail to see Jesus – the Messiah, our Savior – standing right in front of us?