In times of change, when we have to decide what to keep and what to let go, we can learn from a word of Jesus. He said:
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” (Luke 5:37-39)
Jesus speaks of a blessed moment: new wine is available. New possibilities open up in our lives, a new path lies before us. We should not spill this moment. While Jesus honors this situation, he also does not devalue the old: the old wine is good! If we bless both, the future and the past, each in its own way, it will go well.
What could the wineskins stand for? They could represent patterns and expectations. The old wineskins could be our habitual behavior, our typical limitations, our fears, our unhealed wounds, our memories. If we hold on to them, we will not be able to move forward. We will not be open to the new. The new wine will be spilled. We need to frame the new in a completely new way. We must let go of the old skins in order to preserve the new. We may have already made changes, but we have found that we have stumbled over our old patterns. Therefore, we doubt whether we are really able to embrace the new. For example, when we embark into in a new relationship. Jesus encourages us: Yes! New wine. Fill it into new skins!
The old wineskins could also be our own expectations. If we hold on to them, we will end up where we have been before. We are invited to find new ways to evaluate the new differently, to judge it with new standards. Perhaps, after all, the new goes far beyond my expectations. If I constantly compare the new with what I used to expect, I am still carrying the new wine in old wineskins.
Lord, you invite us to convert. You encourage us to true inner renewal. With our baptism, You have opened the door for us: We can enter into a new life, together with You. A life in fullness. You believe in us. People CAN change. I can change. I can be healed. The good remains, the new is truly new. Thank You for the freshness of this good news!