Preparing Our Hearts for New Wine

Homily for Saturday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time

Through this parable that we hear this morning from Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord is inviting us to take a deeper look at the state of our hearts. He’s asking us to reflect on what might be in our hearts that is preventing us from experiencing His love in its fullness, what might be preventing us from having a more meaningful and intimate encounter with him. He so desires to meet us in our hearts, to give us an outpouring of grace. He wants to enter into our hearts so that we can be drawn into communion with the Father. But that can’t happen if we have anything in our hearts that blocks that encounter from taking place.

In my own experience – not just in my own spiritual life, but as I have walked with others in spiritual direction – I have come to see that there are typically two things that prevent us from truly receiving that outpouring of grace, that prevent us from encountering God fully in our hearts. (There can be other things, of course, but for the most part, I think these two things act as blocks.) It’s either a past hurt that someone has inflicted upon us or a past sin that we cannot seem to overcome and which is telling us that we’re not worthy of receiving God’s love.

In terms of the past hurt: as difficult as it may be, we have to allow the Lord into that area of our hearts. He wants to heal us and bring us to fullness of life. But He can’t do that if we are not giving Him permission to enter those areas of our lives. In confession, I often remind people that the Lord is a gentleman. He will never go anywhere that He isn’t first invited to go. So if there is an area of your heart that has been hurt, invite the Lord into it today and ask Him to heal it. That the only way you can be brought to experience the fullness of God’s love.

With regard to a sin preventing us from encountering the Lord: y’all, Satan is a … insert your favorite derogatory term here. He wants to keep us so stuck in our sins that we start to think that we’re never going to change, that there isn’t any hope for us. We start to believe the lie that God could never love someone like me because I’ve done XYZ. We’ve got to stop listening to the lies! Satan knows our names, but he calls us by our sins; God knows our sins, but He calls us by our names. Notice the difference. We are not our sins. We are beloved sons and daughters of God. His grace can overcome any sin. His grace is enough to bring us out of any mistake we’ve made. Bring those to Him in prayer, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He’ll meet you there, I promise!

The Lord wants to pour new wine into our hearts, but before He does, we have to ask Him to make them into new wineskins. We have to ask Him to bring us to conversion. Today as we receive Him in the Eucharist, let’s ask Him to do just that. Prepare our hearts, Lord, to receive that new wine so that we can go out and share with the world all that you have done for us, so that we can be examples of how your love and grace can truly change lives.

Photo: Martin Katler on Unsplash. Used under Unsplash license.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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