Today’s Gospel: Matthew 9, 14-17
Pope Francis preached about today´s Gospel, emphasizing that “the observation of precepts is sterile if it doesn’t change the heart” (Angelus 8/30/2015). When I read these words, I thought about how our life is nothing without grace, and how our actions are meaningless if they aren’t directed from the depth of our heart. Perhaps this is the best aspect to ponder about the “new patch” and the “new wine” of which Jesus speaks here.
How many times have I seen myself in the shoes of John the Baptist´s disciples, questioning Jesus about his actions. And how many times I caught myself stuck in a simple “observation of precepts”, meaningless, because I lacked something that only change can bring.
To change, many times, means to take a very difficult step. A job change, a house change…it’s always to “leave something” to which we are accustomed, to risk it. To change feelings or ways of thinking that aren’t rooted in the heart is even harder, because the “old garments” are very rooted, and unhook them is like ripping your own skin.
We learn to observe the laws very early in our lives, but many times we grow old without learning how to change. Change to stop living in an attitude of appearances and do things in a new way. To change is always to become young again.
Clinging to self does not let us see what we can gain from this step. Perhaps a deep experience of the new is a profound experience of God. Certainly it can be if He remains at the heart of our intentions. The precepts may be good, but even better is the person who can find fulfillment in love. And this “new” that we gain from the change fills our lives with meaning.
What are the rigid rules of our lives? What are the garments or the old wineskins we need to renew so that the new can transform our hearts and make us more productive and happy people?
Jesus, you are the “new garment”, the “new wine”, who restores and gives flavor to each situation of our lives. Grant that we have the courage to change what is necessary for our heart to be more pleasing to you and more useful to others.
Copyright 2016 Cícera G. S. Martins, translated from the Portuguese by Flávia Ghelardi
Cícera G. S. Martins studied languages at São Paulo University and is an orthographic reviewer, with experience in rievewing religious texts. She is a member of the Schoenstatt Movement and loves to serve the Church, specially as a catechist and liturgical vocalist. She’s married, has a beautiful son and her biggest treasure is her family and God.