I have never been tempted to put new wine in old wineskins, in fact I don’t even know what a wineskin is. I guess I could look it up on Google, but then I wonder why would I, when today’s Gospel selection tells me I shouldn’t put my wine in them anyway.
I think I do understand the Scribes and Pharisees challenge to Jesus in today’s gospel selection:
“The disciples of John the Baptist fast often and offer prayers,
and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same;
but yours eat and drink.” (LK 5:33)
For twenty years, I taught 10 to 15 years old boys who were often described as incorrigible. If I told my students to open up a book, they would stare out the window. If I wanted to send them to the office, I could be sure that they would never make it there by themselves; I needed to send them with an escort.
Since my third year high school religion class, taught by Fr. Gerard, C.P., I’ve heard that if I want to follow Jesus, I must be willing to face life—the joys as well as the crosses, be grateful for that gift of life, and now here’s the corker, be willing to give it up. I think the Scribes and Pharisees and the apostles for that matter, heard Jesus’ message and like my students and myself sometimes, responded with disbelief and the above challenge.
I pray today, that I will have the courage to take Jesus at his word and do what he teaches.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.