“Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
At first glance, a lay person who doesn’t have a lot of biblical studies background could read today’s gospel and think Huh? What the heck is Mark trying to say here?... At least that’s what happened to me when I first read the scripture passage. Thank God for Google.
Anyways, through a little bit of help understanding the symbolic nature of this passage, I have decided to focus on one point: in this passage, Jesus tells the people that they need to be open to new ideas and customs while also recognizing the time and place for old habits, traditions, and teachings.
From my vantage point, there is a very big divide in today’s Church. There are those who have more socially liberal points of view, and those who follow, and fiercely defend, “traditional church teaching.” People who have been taught a certain teaching for their whole life, such as “marriage should only be allowed between 2 people of the opposite sex,” have been socialized to believe that marriage between anyone else (such as two women), is blasphemous.
Today I am not here to argue for or against gay marriage, but rather to encourage everyone, to be more open minded in general. In this passage, Jesus warns us that if we only stick to traditionally correct beliefs and customs, then we may not live as effectively; in fact, we may hurt ourselves or others. Just as the new wine would burst the skin of an old wineskin, old teachings and beliefs may harm relationships or damage an opportunity for respect and love.
Through following Jesus’ advice to be more open to new ideas, we are able to discern for ourselves what is morally right, separate from what we have been socialized to believe. Hopefully through discerning what opinions we have, and what actions we take, more people can come to live their faith in such a way that shows all people how much they are loved.