July 8, 2023
Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
“No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. 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.” Matthew 9:16–17
The parable above teaches us that even if someone were to faithfully understand and live the authentic Law that was given through Moses and the prophets, Jesus’ new teaching of grace, the New Law, was so different that it was not simply an improvement of the old, it completely replaced it. Furthermore, many of the customs taught by the Pharisees were unfaithful representations of the Law of Moses. They had deviated from the Law’s meaning and replaced it with their own scrupulous and erroneous multiplication of external practices. Thus, Jesus’ New Law needed to break away from these deviations completely.
To use a modern example, if you were to have an old phone that had become obsolete or stopped working, you wouldn’t buy a new phone so as to remove various parts from it to try to add those parts to the old phone to fix it. Instead, you use the new phone as a complete replacement for the old one.
A central quality of the New Law of grace is that it is entirely new and transforming. Therefore, by embracing this New Law, we become entirely new creations in Christ. Grace doesn’t simply patch that which is weak and sinful in us. It transforms us, elevating our human nature to an entirely new existence. This teaching is not only directed at the misguided teachings that the Pharisees had developed over the years, it was directed at human life itself. Not only were the Jewish customs to go through a transformation, humanity itself was to go through a transformation. Everything is made new in Christ.
This teaching applies just as much to us today as it did to the Jewish people of old. Today, we not only receive the new life of grace in Baptism, but we also receive it anew and share in this ongoing transforming renewal every time we allow grace to touch us more deeply and transform us more fully into the people God wants us to be. The “new patch” and the “new wine” are always transforming, and we must look forward to this newness throughout our lives.
Reflect, today, upon the joyful discovery that awaits you every day. Discovering the New Law of grace, accepting it into your life, and allowing it to transform you will set you on a path of discovery that will never get old. It is an ongoing discovery that is far greater than anything this world has to offer. Nothing can ever compare to the gift of God alive in our lives. It will never get old. It will always be transforming. And it will always be new. Ponder this gift God offers you today and say “Yes” to it with all your heart.
My transforming Lord, You continuously offer to renew me, transform me and elevate me to the life of grace. I thank You for this Gift and desire to accept it with all my heart. May I always be ready and willing to say “Yes” to You and the transformation that awaits me as I discover this ever new treasure of Your Grace. Jesus, I trust in You.