It has been hard for me to wrap my mind around the "New Wine in New Wineskins" theme because I have little to no understanding about wineskins (beyond what the Bible says). However, Mark 2:18-22 struck me in a particular way that has helped me immensely. Jesus, the incredible teacher that he was, couples his teaching about wineskins with something that I can totally relate to -- sewing! "No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. . . ."
When I entered the community I tried to embrace different ways of being frugal. Once (and only once) I tried patching a t-shirt. I don't think the t-shirt made it through the wash one time before the hole had grown back. It happened just as Jesus taught. That was a waste of time, but I certainly learned a good lesson.
It may be silly that thinking of old t-shirts helps me so much to understand the theme of our Chapter, but it does. You have a t-shirt for several good years. It becomes comfortable with wear. Perhaps it even takes you back to fond memories of when you got it. Inevitably, you start to notice that it becomes stretched out and dingy, or holes start to pull away at the seams. Then one day, you have to decide that enough is enough. You take out the scissors, re-purpose your favorite t-shirt, and your rag collection grows. The next day is bittersweet as you get to take a new t-shirt out of the drawer and begin to break it in.
I certainly don't mean to be diluting the reference to wine with talk of old t-shirts. It hasn't escaped me that "new wine" speaks directly to our Eucharistic lifestyle and our mission statement which says that we are outpoured "for the life of the world." My meditation on Mark 2:18-22 so clearly connects t-shirts, wine and community matters that will be addressed during our Provincial Chapter. The process of change is so similar. We have it. We love it. We use it up. We need to move on and embrace the new. With time the new will become comfortable. That being said, it is much easier to move on to a new t-shirt than to embrace "New Wine." Thank God for the help of the Holy Spirit who will direct our hearts and our work during the Provincial Chapter.
- Sister Regina ministers at the School of Saint Elizabeth (Bernardsville, NJ).