New year, new wine

A message from Vice President, Father Anthony Casamento CSMA: The start of the new year is a time for us to take stock and renew.

At my gym at this time of year, we “regulars” see an upsurge in attendance by people we don’t know - the “resolution people” as I like to term them. Most of them will disappear by February because they haven’t committed to changing their lifestyles to exercise regularly. To use a Gospel analogy, they are trying to pour the new “wine” of exercise into an old “wineskin” of a sedentary lifestyle. As Mark’s passage tells us, failure is inevitable.

I thought about this as I recently meditated on Jesus’ statement about the need to pour “new wine” into “fresh wineskins". He’s inviting us to a new life (i.e. new wine) but warning us that it will only work if we exchange our old “wineskin” (bad habits/lifestyle problems) for new. And that is challenging.

Our question as we begin 2020 then is, how can we conquer our favourite faults?

In terms of how I hope to meet this challenge, I’m picturing a glass of wine and a new wineskin small enough to hold its contents. After examining my life, I’ve decided to try to combat my bad habit of complaining about people who annoy me by making one less uncharitable remark a day. I still get to complain – just not as much.  I can fill one small wineskin a day with new wine, sort of like skipping chocolate at lunch but eating a handful of M&M’s after dinner. By the end of the year, that will be 365 fewer cutting remarks and hopefully progress in fighting a bad habit – in other words, quite a bit of new wine poured into new wineskins. Jesus knows our limits and. I’m guessing he’s fine with small steps toward creating new wineskins.

Also, if you’re one of the “resolution people” at a gym somewhere, keep up the good work. We DO welcome you. And since exercise shows us that change is possible, it’s a great confidence builder for improving our spiritual lives.

Good luck!


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