"No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and in that way both are preserved." —Matthew 9:17
Many Christians have had an outpouring of the new wine of fasting, gifts of the Spirit, Christian community, evangelization, etc. The aftermath of some of these experiences was not good. People's lives were disrupted and the new wine lost (Mt 9:17). These people vowed they would never go to another prayer meeting, publicly share their faith, get very involved in church, etc. Because they would not change their lifestyle, that is, their wineskin, they swore off the new wine. They found the old wine, that is, the things of the world, better (Lk 5:39). However, they should have resolved to change the wineskin.
Totally commit your life to Jesus. "Rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge" of Jesus Christ (Phil 3:8). Let Jesus make all things new for you (2 Cor 5:17). Get a new wineskin. Then try again those things whose aftermath was so disappointing and disruptive. You will be pleasantly surprised. Fasting will still be difficult but also amazingly liberating (Is 58:6). The praises at the prayer meeting will not bother you; rather, they will help you "fix your eyes on Jesus" (Heb 3:1). Forming Christian community will not be unrealistic, but God's will. In evangelization, you will experience the Holy Spirit giving you the words to speak (Mt 10:20). The new wine will transform you from glory to glory, once you have a new wineskin.
Prayer: Father, do in me what You must so as to do through me what You will.
Promise: "I will bring about the restoration of My people Israel; they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities." —Am 9:14
Praise: St. Anthony received an outpouring of the Spirit through frequent reception of the Eucharist and encouraged others to do the same.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Seek First The Kingdom.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008
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