NEW WINE SKINS
A REFLECTION ON MARK 2:18-22
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wine skins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wine skins.
I once had someone say to me when challenged to do something she preferred to avoid at all costs but couldn’t: “Fear is a great motivator.” In her case, it was fear of reprisals that “motivated” her to perform a duty. As we all know, acting out of fear gets a job done, but it is not a motivator, it is a stern master. It gets things done but it doesn’t bring about inner transformation or freedom. And that’s what we’re all about, all of us, isn’t it?
The great motivator that Jesus offers us and IS, is love. Only love will bring about transformation. We all know this. And so we who have tasted, even ever so slightly, the new wine of the love of God are invited to enter into a relationship with the Living God. This relationship might be described as passing from old wine skins to new. New skins that can hold the active, bubbling new wine of the Spirit. So much goes on in this relationship – all of it enfolded in the love of God and our response. It is what we might call transformation. Only when we take the risk of opening out as much as we are able to the love God is continually offering us under many guises, do we give God a free hand to transform our inner depths into Jesus.
As we also know, it is not so easy to fall into the hands of the Living God, even if we know God is love. Being without control is not a place most of us are comfortable with. Yielding to God to provide new wine skins can be scary, especially when God shows us things about ourselves that we would rather not look at, much less acknowledge and surrender to. But the love of God urges us on and so we rest our being quietly in God in times of prayer. The transformation into Christ is beginning, and we know from within that new wine skins are being formed from the old because we are motivated to let go into God through love. It gives us the courage through trust and love to lay to rest in the Heart of God, our entire being. That is our destiny and why every human being exists. And from that place of union, we go out to become God’s presence and follow wherever he leads. Because of the Incarnation, we are the hands and heart of Jesus in our world. We are being transformed day by day into likeness of Jesus and a place where mercy and faithfulness meet, justice and peace have embraced. Where, from new wine skins, the love of God can bubble over into our day and our world.
May we enter this new day with hearts expanded and may God transform us ever more into himself