Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 4:1-5; Luke 5:33-39)

France waits in suspense every year for the third Tuesday in November. On that day, called “Beaujolais Day,” the latest vintage of Beaujolais wine goes on market. Not only does the wine have a tasty fruity quality, it also indicates the caliber of that year’s vintage when the wines mature. In grape-producing regions like France and Palestine wine serves as a symbol of joy. For this reason Jesus compares his mission with a new wine in today’s gospel.

Interestingly, Jesus shows no contempt for the old wine, Judaism, when he proclaims his message of God’s kingdom as the new. He says that some people prefer old wine as, indeed, it has a mellowness to be savored. But there is no mixing of new wine and old. Accepting Jesus’ messages means stepping away from Judaic law into the more challenging and more promising realm of gospel love.

Church history is soiled by anti-Semitic outbursts. Most likely the cause for of the prejudice has been envy given how successful Jews have been in commerce and the professions. Certainly the anger is misplaced. Jews, as Luke’s gospel consistently shows, are Jesus’ forbearers always worthy of our respect and dialogue.