Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr (Optional Memorial)
New wine is poured into fresh wineskins. (Mark 2:22)
What’s new with you?
That kind of question might make us uncomfortable. Does there need to be anything new with us? We might really appreciate the predictability of life, with all our comfortable routines and friendships and activities. But do the dependable boundaries surrounding our lives hide or even stifle the vibrant life of Christ that we received in Baptism?
Think about the powerful effect that new life had on the people who encountered Jesus in the Gospels. It healed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). It enabled Zacchaeus not only to ask forgiveness but to offer restitution to his victims (19:1-10). It gave James and John and Matthew new careers (Mark 1:19-21; 2:13-21). It brought Mary of Bethany into the role of a disciple (Luke 10:39). It released Paul and Silas from jail and enabled their captors to accept Christ (Acts 16:16-40).
What about you? You have received the same Holy Spirit who was so active in Jesus and his first followers. So how can you be like that flexible wineskin, ready to expand in new, unexpected directions? What might it look like for you?
For one believer, it involved inviting neighbors into her home every week to share coffee and study the Scriptures. It led a certain barber to offer his skills to prison inmates as a way to boost their sense of dignity. For a mom used to making school lunches for her children, it led her to bring her family to a local homeless shelter and pack bagged meals for children. She even tucked a small toy and an encouraging message into each one.
These and many other, smaller examples can give you a glimpse of the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit (Mark 2:22)—the vibrant, vital life that has been poured into your own heart. The opportunities to stretch and allow that life to flow from you and bless the people around you are endless. Think of how this might be already happening in your life. Then dare to ask God what new thing he may want to do through you this week. Ask him to show you how you can stretch enough to cooperate with him.
“Holy Spirit, expand my heart and my vision to make more room for the new life you have given me.”
1 Samuel 15:16-23
Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
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