The WORD in Other Words by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD (Australia)
Friday Week 22 Ordinary Time, Col 1:15-20, Lk 5:33-39
“Think outside of the box!” This is what innovators do. So when a farmer in rural Queensland, Australia was finding it difficult to access the internet in his house and farm, he made his own 53-metre tall tower on his property to access high—speed internet which he badly needed for his business.
Today‘s gospel tells us of “new wine for fresh wineskins.” Jesus tells the scribes and Pharisees to “think outside of the box” — to follow God not by strict superficial observance of the 613 laws, commandments and statutes, but by reaching out to the sinner, bringing the mercy of God to those in need, restoring to life to those whose faith are dead, and leading back those who have been rejected by society. These consist of the new wine that must be poured into fresh wineskins.
Of course, the “old” is still valid and very much relevant. In a Bible study in Sydney, a participant asked me, “Father, since Jesus already came, does it mean that the Ten Commandments are no longer needed?” I told her, “Jesus said that ‘until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.”
For some of us, change can be a difficult task to do. Like those who are set in their ways, change can be challenging. Yet, Jesus is challenging us to look outside of the box. Change is not supposed to be prevented, it must be welcomed. Hopefully, in our journey towards the kingdom, may we accept the new wine from God and be like fresh wineskins that would be able to adapt and adjust to change which the new wine will bring.