Wine of the New Covenant

Luke 5: 33-39
Col 1: 15-20 / Psa 100

Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?
(Luke 5:34)

Drink the wine of Christ’s New Covenant,
Which has led to our transformation...
God has given us life abundant,
So it’s a time for celebration!

They said to Jesus, “The disciples of John often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” (Luke 5:33-39)

Reflection

Jesus refers to Himself here again as the “bridegroom” – and naturally the early church, composed of His disciples, as the “bride”. For the Jews, a wedding was a time of great celebration, which at times lasted for a whole week, and feasting rather than fasting was the order of the time. We recall the wedding at Cana that Jesus and His mother attended (Jn.2:1-10). Because of the length of the celebration, they ran out of wine, and Mary, the mother of our Lord urged Him to perform His first miracle. He not only changed the water into wine, but made more than 150 gallons of premium grade wine, more than the guests could possibly consume. When God gives, it will be given to you “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Lk.6:38) Twelve baskets of surplus bread and fish were collected after feeding the five thousand (Mt.14:20).

Jesus told the Jews that He was bringing a new Covenant (new wine) to replace the old. He knew that there would be great resistance to His teachings, because the people preferred “the old wine”. He said, “Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to get new wine, but says: ‘The old is better.’ (Lk.5:39) In the same way, our instinct is to resist when we are confronted with change, even though it may offer better, bigger and richer opportunities.

In today’s Gospel, the message Jesus is telling us is that in order to understand this New Life in the Spirit, we must undergo a transformation, a renewal of our old way of thinking, shedding the thick skin of prejudice, self-centeredness and fear. The Gospel is offering us something entirely new, a new way of thinking, an abundance of God’s bounty, and a new way of treating others, of understanding life better through the Good News of God’s Word. This new wine is God’s call to conversion — to love one another, to pray constantly, to seek justice for the poor, to forgive one another, to take up our cross when we follow Him.

It is not easy to change. The religious leaders in Jesus’ time kept resisting His invitation, even if they were witnesses to His new ways of showing God’s love, and were moved by His teachings. They had grown too comfortable in their traditional ways of worship, and were afraid to try this New Covenant. How about us? Are we prepared to receive Christ’s ‘new wine’ into our lives? This is the challenge God is calling us to take: to present the Gospel in a way that people in our workplaces today are able to understand it, and accept it as a new way of Life in the Spirit. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) This is no time for fasting, but a celebration of God’s eternal love!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for converting us into ‘new wineskins’ with the ‘new wine’ of Your Word. Grant that we may be bold in sharing this New Life in the Spirit with others. Amen.

Comments are closed.