CALL TO RENEWAL

Friday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time       

            Today’s gospel passage deals with a controversy presented to Jesus: “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” Jesus responds by means of two parables – a piece from a new garment and new wine – and a proverb – preferring old wine to new. All these components contrast the old with the new.

            Allow me to borrow the commentary of John Craghan on this: “As a whole, the passage poses the issue of relating the old way of Jewish piety with the new way of Christians in the time after Jesus’ departure.” “Whether Christian are feasting of fasting, they are a new reality.” “Any effort to combine the new and the old does not really take into consideration this reality and must inevitably lead to the destruction of both.” “Jesus’ opponents have tasted the old wine but refuse the invitation to taste the new.” “They will not risk the challenge of Jesus’ new community.”

            Christian life is a call to constant conversion and renewal. However, we, human beings, seem to be naturally conservative. What I mean by this is that we seem to prefer the status quo than having to cope with big changes in our lives. We would rather stay in our comfort zone than take the road to change. We are fearful of any change that is asked of us – sometimes we even vehemently resist it. Perhaps, this is the reason why the work of conversion in our lives is so slow and difficult.

            This means that we will have to turn away from the old ways of living our lives and embrace the new ways of the Spirit as he leads us along the path of growth in holiness. The work of the Holy Spirit is like this in us – helping us to live a life that is in conformity to God’s will, instead of just living according to our needs and wants…inspiring us to choose freely the values of Christ, instead of being enslaved by the dictates of the world…guiding us to be able to serve our sisters and brothers, instead of just pursuing our selfish ambitions.

            So, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and work in us – so that he can renew and transform us.

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