I won’t say I am an expert in anything except procrastination or forgetting my appointments. My Lectio Divina Reflections on Philippians 2:5 have recently been about the passage in the Scriptures, which speaks of new and old skins. Here it is for your reflection on Luke’s Gospel.

The Question About Fasting. o

33And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same, but yours eat and drink.”

34* Jesus answered them, “Can you make the wedding guests* fast while the bridegroom is with them?

35But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”

36* And he also told them a parable. “No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one. Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.

37Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.

38Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.

39[And] no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”*

An interesting observation about Luke’s account of the old and new wineskins is verse 39, which suggests that no one who drinks the old wine desires the new. I find that Luke’s statement, which does not appear in Matthew 9: 17 or Mark 2:22, is a spot-on commentary on what has always happened when humans take over the administration of the Church. The commentators I read ( on these verses state that the old and new refer to the New and Old Testaments and how The Christ Principle is the new skins that hold His new wine, so it does not burst. But, even more striking to me is the awareness that this is not just the ripping of the veil in the temple when Christ dies and a line in the sand between the old skins and those who drink old wine was drawn, but that The Christ’s Principle is the new wine that flows from new skins provided by the Holy Spirit today, each day that I convert my will, once again, to that of the new instead of the old.

Those who are leaves on the tree of Christ produce new fruit only with new skins. In my view of reality, the key temptation is not sexual pleasure but the Devil using fractioning to separate those who believe from each other. Divine and conquer is the maxim. I support Pope Francis in his tenure as Captain of the barq of St. Peter, not because he may not make a mistake or two, but because the Holy Spirit chose Him to be the head of the body of Christ (militant) and to refocus ourselves with new skins. Don’t mess with the Holy Spirit. The Reformers down through the centuries did, and it produced unintended consequences.

Where do these new skins originate? Certainly, not from me or from my earthly citizenship in two universes (physical and mental). God’s stuff only comes from God’s divine nature. That is why I say, “For Thine is the power, and the kingdom, and the glory.” I give to the Father, through, with, and in Christ (in the Eucharist primarily and then through my other Lay Cistercian prayers) the only thing He does not have; my free will to say YES to the fulfillment of my humanity, to be an adopted son (daughter) of the Father. My response in humility (fear of the Lord) and daily conversion (obedience) to the will of the Father is made through, with, and in The Christ Principle; the only way my humanity (even my adoption) can approach that which humans cannot approach by themselves.

Christ is the new skin that holds his real presence, the new wine. Christ shares with us in the Eucharist his existence, body and blood, soul and divinity each time we receive Eucharist. My response is one of astonishment each day that I have the opportunity to see any of this with Faith’s eyes and respond to it through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Not everyone sees this. Christ told us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” I must pray daily and seek God each day as I am because pride might cause my fall from grace. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is my link to Jesus and making all things new.

I am looking at the orange tree in my front yard. It has on it over three hundred oranges ready for me to harvest. Each year, I get new fruit from the tree because it is new (even though it is aging). New fruit only comes from skins that are new.


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