Daily Reflection
From a Creighton Student's Perspective

January 21st, 2008

Allison Showalter

Sophomore, Undecided Major

1 Sm 15:16-23
Ps50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Mk 2:18-22

In many instances, the Bible seems completely irrelevant to any modern context due to obscure references to historical commonalities. Today’s Gospel from Mark is one such instance of using analogy quite unfamiliar to contemporary readers. Wine comes in bottles, not skins, and I have never seen a cloak while browsing through the coat section of a store. Although I was unable to come up with a simple modern substitute to replace a cloak and a wineskin, this reading sparked my thoughts about conflicting aspects of my life that go together like new wine and old wineskins.

Living in a society so focused on money and material goods makes it difficult to embrace the simplicity and humble status Jesus emphasizes through the Gospels. My faith and relationship with God acts as a cloak of love, shielding me from the torrential rains of a society constantly focused on wealth and worldly matters. I need the security and warmth provided by a community of believers to keep the material world from drenching my life. My problem is sinning. I rip holes in my relationships with God and the Church community, causing my cloak – my protection from the storm of society – to lose effectiveness. My second mistake comes when I attempt to repair these holes. If I would ask God to forgive my sin and help me mend my ways, it would be easy to repair my torn relationships. However, I often use unshrunken cloth on my cloak – I use the material aspects of the world as a solution to repair my faith life. Just as Jesus emphasizes in today’s Gospel reading, unlike mediums do not fit well together. Material solutions from society do little to develop a moral life and build a relationship with God.

Using the imagery of wine and a wineskin, it is not possible to contain material wealth within a life that strives to fulfill Jesus’ message of poverty and love. Just as God prefers obedience from Saul to burnt offerings and sacrifice in today’s first reading from Samuel, He honors faithfulness over worldly prosperity. Trying to pour a frivolous lifestyle into a life striving to fulfill the Gospel message is as senseless as filling an old wineskin with new wine. As Mark says, “the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined.” A worldly lifestyle destroys the fabric of faith and still does not give personal satisfaction.

Our faith must grow as a Church community, so we can aid each other in mending our rips and filling our wineskins. The need for God is more powerful than any temptations of society, for our reward will be great in heaven. As God promises in the Psalm, “to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

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