New Wine, New Wineskins

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Formation, Reflections

We have a new baby in our family.  Jacob is just two weeks old, and he has captured me in a surprising way.  Why am I so surprised?  If I remember back to my childhood, I was captivated by the birth of siblings.  And then again when our children were born, and so, too, our granddaughters several years ago.  What a gift today to be reminded of the miracle of new life, a precious baby who is looking at this world with new eyes.  I see him studying his new world, listening to new voices, responding to new touches, beginning his journey of life-long learning.  I am truly captivated by this little miracle.

What a gift for me today, as I look for such needed signs of hope in our world. What a gift as I experience this reminder of the incredible wonder of God’s creation.  What a gift to enliven my faith in a God who embraces us, in all our goodness and in all our struggles.

Jacob is reminding me that I, too, need to look at the world with new eyes.  I need to listen to new voices.  I need to respond to the touches of the Holy Spirit.  I need to be a life-long learner. And that moves me to hopefully listen to voices from 18 different countries who are coming together for an Extraordinary Assembly in Bogota, Colombia this April.  Our theme of new wine in new wineskins is fitting for this new way of seeing.

When I open a bottle of wine, I’m not usually thinking about the process that brought that bottle to our dinner table.  I’m more aware of the taste, the aroma, and the enjoyment of sharing it with friends gathered with me at the table.  And so wineskins are even more not in my realm of thinking.  I had to understand it in the context of the time of Jesus.  As I tried to understand this parable, I had to do a little research to truly understand that as the wine fermented and expanded, it exerted pressure on wineskins.  The old wineskins had lost their elasticity and could burst.  The new wineskins held the wine while allowing it to ferment and become the bold expression of the fruits of the vine.

Little Jacob reminds me that I, too, can become new.  I can look at the world, and at MISEVI as it grows, and embrace it while allowing it to ferment and become a bold expression of the missionary presence of the Vincentian charism.

Please pray for us as we meet in Bogota, April 10-13, 2024.