When my mother was preparing for our New Year’s celebration, I asked her if we already had the traditional “prutas na bilog” (round-shaped fruits) for our table. She asked me if we should still adhere to that tradition given that I am already a seminarian. As we welcome the new year, Catholics should trust in God’s providence alone for the blessings we need and not on good luck charms. My mother added that the only “circle” that we need to receive is Jesus Christ himself in the form of the Blessed Sacrament.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the metaphor of a cloak and wine. “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine in old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine, as well as the skins, is lost. New wine is put in fresh wineskins.”
The Gospel is inviting me to leave my old ways and do something new. As priests-in-process, we are called to die to ourselves so that a renewed one may be born. I must surrender everything to the Lord, carry my own cross, and follow Him. Those who humble themselves before God receive His blessings. Jesus Christ again calls us to renewal, conversion, and purification. Our call for personal conversion and renewal is not an exercise of self-improvement but rather a renewal of our relationship with Jesus Christ. May we continue to renew ourselves to welcome new blessings from God.
By: Sem. Arjay A. Ligamzon
The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
“Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them,
“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”