Homily for Saturday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time (Deacon Matt)

“No one patches a cloak with an unshrunken patch” and “New wine in new wineskins!” In these two verses, the Gospel today gives two different, yet similar sayings of Jesus, the patch of new cloth on an old cloak and the new wine in new skins. These examples are Jesus’ way of pointing out the main problem with the religious authority of his time, they were unwilling to change their ways – even to everyone’s detriment.  A patch of new cloth is not put on an old cloak, because when it is washed, the new piece of cloth shrinks, pulling on the old cloak and tearing it. Instead of the cloth fixing the whole, the tear actually becomes bigger.  Jesus’ second example is similar. No one puts new wine in old skins, because when the new wine ferments it will tear the old skins, causing them to burst and spilling the wine. It is always better to put new wine into new skins! The religion defended by the religious authority of the time was like the piece of old cloth or like the old wineskin, weak and prone to tear and fall apart.

Both the disciples of John the Baptist and the even the Pharisees tried to renew the religion and renew people’s beliefs.  However, they simply put patches on it, and because of this, they ran the risk of compromising and harming both the new and the old uses, the old religion they were trying to renew, and the renewed religion itself.  The new wine which Jesus brings to us, through his life, death, and resurrection causes the old skins not only tear but to burst. Jesus is not against what is “old,” but he does not want what is old to be imposed on that which is new and prevent us from moving forward and being renewed in our faith and our relationship with Him.+

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