In today’s first reading from Colossians 1, we get a great dose of Christology – a message about who Christ truly is. In the Gospel reading from Luke 5, Jesus talks about the old and the new, patching an old cloak with new fabric, and putting new wine into old wineskins.
In many places, the old and the new can easily coexist. We often see downtown areas where there are shiny new glass and steel buildings, and right next door an old cathedral or church from another era. Even in our worship we see similar situations. Many people were very wary after Vatican II when the Mass began being said in the vernacular. But we can certainly maintain the reverence of the Mass while hearing it in our native tongue.
For those who have a conversion experience, the old and the new must part company. As we hear from Jesus today, they just don’t fit together. When we decide to leave the old ways behind – selfishness, idolatry, greed, lust, giving in to the desires of the flesh – we cannot go back. At least, not if we wish to follow Christ. We must put on the new – the new wine of the Spirit. They say in life that it is not good to burn bridges. But in the spiritual life, this is one bridge that we should burn down completely. Let us put on the new self that is in Christ Jesus and leave the old behind.
Father, we thank you for giving us your Spirit; for helping us to become a new person in Christ. Help us to never go back to the old – away from you, but to always be moving toward you. Amen.
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