Friday, September 5, 2014

Something Old, Something New

From the Hermitage

Dear Friends,

Something old, something new.  In today's gospel Jesus is speaking about the challenges change make for human beings.  The Son of God came to this earth to teach us what the Father wished we would learn.  He uses two examples, very brief parables, in today's gospel reading.  To explain his mission, Jesus talks about sewing a piece of new material to a much older piece of material.  When washed, of course, the new material will pull away from the much older material, causing a tear, and thereby ruining the older material.  Jesus offers another example to help his hearers understand his mission.  In his days wine was saved in what we would call pouches that were made of animal skin.  Over time the skin softened.  If new wine was poured into the pouch with older wine, the strength of the new wine would tear the wineskin.  New wine was to be poured into new wineskins.

Today, the new material, the new wineskin we might call our journey into the New Evangelization.  Yes, here we are dealing with something new and something old.  This journey requires of us to learn something new using some of the older learned materials to bring us forward in understanding of how the Church hopes to help us strengthen our personal faith as well as recall to the Church our sisters and brothers who have allowed themselves to leave our Church or who have themselves become less fervent in the practice of our faith.

While addressing the matter of trust, my thoughts yesterday gave some attention to those who have not been like the fisherman, Peter.  There are among us today perhaps too many who set themselves up as the judges of what is right or what is wrong.  In many of these instances, the contemporary cultures around the world have been like the new wine poured into the old wineskins of our faith.  The result is that there is loss ... loss of the wine that is the some in our faith communities.  Some of the mores of the contemporary scene are like the new cloth used to patch the old cloth, causing a tear in the material.

Today what may seem to be something new in our Church, especially in the implementation of the New Evangelization is, in my opinion,  not so much something so new that it tears away out the very cloth of our faith but that which tries to assist us renew and fortify our faith.  It is a thought worthy of some prayer and consideration.  In essence what may seem new might well be just an effort at learning once again what it was that Jesus taught during his lifetime among humankind.  Recall words from the liturgy:  "At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say. ... Our Father ...."  The New Evangelization is indeed an effort to use the teachings of our Church and the words of Jesus to know our faith.

Oremus pro invicem!

Fr. Milt