Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. -Psalm 149:1-3
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
‘They have no wine.’ -John 2:3
Another good friend called me today to tell of woes with their formerly trusted and relied upon automobile. (“old wine” to me) Anyone, who knows me well, knows they won’t get any sympathy from me in that regard, but only my personal sharing of how I finally let go of my automobile in the early 1990’s. It died in the middle of an intersection after I had just invested another $500.00 on a fix that I figured would solve all “our” problems. It didn’t! I got out of my car, pushed it over to the side of the road, and called a friend who happened to be in the car business and asked him to tow it for me and assured him I wanted nothing more to do with it and it was his if he wanted it. We had already discussed this possibility.
That was the beginning of a whole new life (“new wine”). I started walking again and reading, two formerly loved activities which I just didn’t have time for when I had an automobile. I know friends will accuse me of being un-American. As Americans we just don’t let go of “the necessities!” Our life together (measured of course, by dollars spent) depends upon us, to keep spending and consuming. That experience also led me to move into the city, which I had been contemplating but was afraid to do because I wasn’t sure I could withstand the density. After a day or two there, I realized that I should have moved there years ago.
God, help me today, to do as the psalmist suggests in our responsorial, sing a new song, based not upon yesterday’s glories (“old wine”), but on the gifts and insights of Mother Earth and the world I live in today, often seen by me as tragic, problematic or challenging.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.