Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s gospel speaks of the old and the new, the hazards of sewing on new cloth to old, the problems which occur if you put new wine in old wineskins. Some erroneously hold that these images served as an excuse for dismissing the traditional and embracing all things contemporary.

An examination of the metaphor used by Jesus hardly would justify such an opinion.   In fact, it provides the image for what the church has done for centuries, that is, adapt and accommodate while maintaining the utility of what has been successful in the past. Old wine is better, but it first starts its life, at least in the time of Jesus, in a wine skin that needed to stretch with the fermentation. A complete dismissal of the past, old wine skins and what they contain would deprive someone of some very good vintage. Not creating new wine in new wine skins would cause the demise of future wine drinking.

Today’s gospel reminds us that we strive to balance the traditional and the contemporary. This can be as struggle, but a preference to either extreme cheats us of either the future or the past.

January 20th, 2014