January 17, 2022
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's Univeristy Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Anthony. Abbot
Lectionary: 311

1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalm 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21 and 23
Mark 2:18-22

Praying Ordinary Time


“People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Was Jesus really telling us that if we let our hearts grow old and hard, we will no longer be willing or able as Christians to face new, difficult problems and issues? Are new “wineskins” critical, so that we can continue to accept the love of Christ?  It could be.

As we age, we become set in our ways. Old habits become even harder to break, and what were once opinions are probably now our firm beliefs. Add to this naturally occurring phenomena the polarizing views that are presented on TV, and our willingness to look with an open mind at issues and concerns facing other people becomes even harder.

This is the challenge we face. If we refuse to allow our hearts to be filled with new ways to love others – be they ones who have slighted us or those living on the margins of society – our hearts will surely grow old and hard. Should that happen, then most assuredly the day will come when our hearts harden to the point that we are no longer able to accept God’s call to love those who don’t love back, and to forgive those who won’t forgive us. And if that happens, how can we call ourselves Christians?

Accepting the challenges we face each day with an open and understanding heart is the best way for us to be assured that our faith will continue to grow. As we search for ways to love and forgive those we once felt we never could, our hearts will become fresh and pliable wineskins, ready to accept God’s endless love in all its beautiful and varied forms.

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