Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's the Story with the Wine Skins?

 
Neither do people put new wine into old skins.  Otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is poured out, and the skins are destroyed.  But people put new wine into new skins, and both are preserved. (Mt 9:17)
Every time this passage comes up at Mass, I completely miss whatever follows it (often including the homily).  I get so distracted trying to figure out the science behind this little comment. Perhaps you share this experience? I mean, what is it about new wine that's bad for an old wine skin? I mean, jeez! The best I could come up with is that maybe new wine is more acidic, and an old skin isn't strong enough to survive that.

So, reading this commentary by Dan Harrington, S.J. on Matthew, we've finally gotten our answer. Turns out, it's the fermentation process. Even after you crack it out of its cask and put in in your wine skin, new wine is still fermenting (that is, becoming alcohol) -- sort of like a hamburger is still cooking a little bit even after you turn the barbecue off.  And as it goes through that process, the wine continues to expand. (It might be more proper to say, fermenting wine produces carbon dioxide, which adds pressure to the wine skin.) A new skin can handle that expansion; an old skin will break under the added pressure.

So, the point is actually pretty similar to the little parable that precedes this one:
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment.  For its patch tears away from the garment, and the tear becomes worse. (Mt 9:16)
The old ways don't work for the new.  You have to let it have its own space to breathe and grow.

For Matthew, this is a parable challenging the Jewish evaluations of Jesus' mission and lifestyle.  Don't go trying to make me like you, old time Pharisees; what we got going on here is something new.  And it  certainly poses the question to us (not too different from the one we talked about Monday), how am I holding other people back? How am I refusing to acknowledge the new in my midst?

It strikes me that it could also be a great parable for kids. Mom and Dad, listen, I appreciate your rules and all, but the world's changed, and I'm going to need a much later curfew. Oh, and an iPad.  And unlimited texting. And by the way, Jesus backs me up on this, so be cool.

But I won't tell them if you won't. It can be our little secret...



8 comments:

Michelle said...

As a chemist, I have to say this passage always distracts me for similar reasons (even though I know why new wine could make a skin burst)! My mind wanders off to reactions and enzymes and yeast and bread and eventually back to wine...hopefully somewhere before the offertory!

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

Glad to know it's not just me!

Anonymous said...

Huh. Sister Mary Somebody told us about the wineskins things in grade school. Never thought that it might confuse people. Go Sister Mary Somebody! Way to be ahead of your times! And I love knowing this insight into how others perceive some of the conundrums of the Bible. It frequently strikes me that the wording was so precious to the people of the time because it was very real to them—not a theology that made God distant, but a story that drew Him into the material of their lives. I like to wonder what the parables and analogies would be today.

But here's my question—how can you say that Jesus doesn’t want the Pharisees to “make him” like them? Doesn’t Jesus love everyone? Yes, I understand that He wasn’t super thrilled with some of the P’s behaviors toward others (and I’m not sure they’d be a lot of fun at a dinner party, no matter how old the wine is). In fact, it wouldn’t seem that they really worked all that hard at making Jesus like them all that much—they mostly tried to be obnoxious, it would seem. But even then, we don’t earn Jesus’ love or “make” Him like us. He just likes us/loves us anyway, no force or conniving or earning on our part—or un-earning for that matter. At least that’s what Sister Mary said. And she was right about the wineskins.

'Splain, please.

Jim McDermott, S.J. said...

Thanks for the comment, Anonymous! Sorry I'm just seeing it. The point I was making is not that Jesus doesn't love everyone, but rather that he's not going to be imprisoned by our expectations of him. The Pharisees want him to fit their categories (basically so they don't have to change). And Jesus' wineskins comment is to say, hey, I can't do that. I'm still wine, but I'm a new wine. Don't go trying to make me like yourself. You are the ones who have to change.

It's a challenge Jesus poses, for them and for us. But as you so correctly insist, it's rooted in love. We're being challenged so that we may be more loving and a part of the kingdom to come.

Hope that helps. Thanks again for the question!

Kevin Bennett said...

I wrestled with this passage for quite a while, too. None of the commentaries I found could satisfactorily answer what the parable really meant, in my view. Most concluded that Jesus was commending "new" ways of worship in place of "old", rather than allowing any kind of mixture. Unfortunately, that doesn't allow for Jesus repeated affirmation of the Law of Moses (albeit cast in a new light). He was being asked about fasting, but was certainly not condemning the practice of fasting at all, as he unmistakably affirms it elsewhere, and even in this passage states that the disciples will observe fasting when they mourn.

The real problem with the old/new analogy is that, as we all know, old wine really is superior! It would be silly to use wine as an illustration in this way, if Jesus was ultimately commending the new as a replacement of the old.

I concluded that the force of the parable was that the disciples, being fresh, new converts, should not be expected to appreciate fasting, nor the elaborate hand-washing, nor liturgies and intricate rituals that the Pharisees were careful to practice. They are new believers, who should be allowed to enjoy their new faith in simple ways which make sense to them.

In time, as they mature, one would anticipate that they would come to appreciate the finer things associated with the old wine of the faith, and by then, they would be old wineskins, in which those practices belong (or new garments gracefully having grown old, without patches).

In the process of this, I went through all the alternative interpretations I could find, showing how they failed to account for what was revealed about Jesus' teachings elsewhere in Scripture. Perhaps it will be of interest: http://wp.me/p2qCI2-pt

God Bless

Luxe Coach Purses said...


Burberry Outlet, http://www.burberryfactorys.com/
The North Face Clearance, http://www.thenorthface.so/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.official-coachoutlet.com/
Barbour Jackets Outlet, http://www.barbour-factory.com/
Abercrombie And Fitch Clothes, http://www.abercrombiee.com/
Burberry Outlet Online, http://www.burberry-outlet2014.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.shophandbagsonline.com/
Burberry Clothes Outlet, http://www.clothes-mall.com/
Cheap Gucci Clothes, http://www.gucci-factory.com/
Marc Jacobs Outlet, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
Cheap MCM Backpack, http://www.mcmworldwide.ca/
Gucci Bags Outlet, http://www.guccishoes-uk.com/
Kate Spade Outlet Online, http://www.kate-spades.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online, http://www.louisvuittonas.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet, http://www.lv-guccishoesfactory.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.michaelkors.so/
Michael Kors Outlet, http://www.michael--korsonline.com/
Michael Kors Black Friday, http://www.michael-korsusa.net/
Moncler Outlet, http://www.moncler-clearance.com/
North Face Outlet, http://www.north-facesoutlet.com/
North Face Jackets Clearance, http://www.north-faceclearance.com/
Cheap Oakley Sunglaases, http://www.oakleyssunglassoutlet.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.official-mkoutlets.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.official-pradaoutlet.com/
Polo Outlet Store Online, http://www.polo-outlets.com/
Polo Outlet Online, http://www.ralphlauren.so/
Ugg Boots Outlet, http://www.cheapuggsbootsr.com/
Ralph Lanren UK, http://www.ralphlaurentshirts.com/
Tory Burch Shoes, http://www.tory-burches.com/
Longchamp Outlet Online, http://www.longchampsoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://coach.mischristmas.com/
Barbour Jackets Black Friday, http://www.barbour-jacketsoutlet.com/
Monster Beats Outlet, http://www.beatsbydreoutlet.net/
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Store, http://www.tommyhilfiger.in.net/
Polo Outlet, http://www.ralphslauren.co.uk/
Uggs Cheap Oultet, http://www.warm-boots.com/
Woolrich Jackets Outlet, http://www.woolrich-clearance.com/
Nike Air Max Shoes, http://www.nike-jordanshoes.com/
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Online, http://www.tommy-hilfigeroutlet.com/
North Face Outlet Online, http://www.official-northfaceoutlet.com/
Monster Beats Outlet Online, http://www.monsterbeatsbydres.net/
Cheap Canada Goose Jackets, http://www.canada-gooser.com/
Coach Factory, http://www.bestcustomsonline.com/
Coach Black Friday 2014, http://www.coach-blackfriday2014.com/
coachfactory.com/shop, http://www.coachccoachoutlet.com/
Coach Bags Store, http://www.coach-clearance.com/
Coach Factory Outlet, http://www.coach-factories.net/
Coach Factory Store, http://www.coach-factorysoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet, http://www.coachlosangeles.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.coachoutletstates.com/
Cheap Coach Purses, http://www.coach-pursesoutlets.com/
Hermes Bags Outlet, http://www.hermes-outletonline.com/
Black Friday, http://www.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Factory Outlet Online, http://www.mischristmas.com/
Moncler Jackets Outlet, http://www.mmoncler-outlet.com/
Coach Purses Store Online, http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/
Ralph Lauren Polo, http://www.ralphlaurenepolo.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.zxcoachoutlet.com/
Ferragamo Outlet Online, http://www.ferragamos.in.net/
Uggs Boots Outlet,http://www.misblackfriday.com/uggsale.html
Discount Ugg Boots,http://www.mischristmas.com/uggboots.html
http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/coachoutlet.html

http://www.zxcoachoutlet.com/coachoutletonline.html

Luxe Coach Purses said...

Burberry Outlet, http://www.burberryfactorys.com/
The North Face Clearance, http://www.thenorthface.so/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.official-coachoutlet.com/
Barbour Jackets Outlet, http://www.barbour-factory.com/
Abercrombie And Fitch Clothes, http://www.abercrombiee.com/
Burberry Outlet Online, http://www.burberry-outlet2014.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.shophandbagsonline.com/
Burberry Clothes Outlet, http://www.clothes-mall.com/
Cheap Gucci Clothes, http://www.gucci-factory.com/
Marc Jacobs Outlet, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
Cheap MCM Backpack, http://www.mcmworldwide.ca/
Gucci Bags Outlet, http://www.guccishoes-uk.com/
Kate Spade Outlet Online, http://www.kate-spades.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet Online, http://www.louisvuittonas.com/
Louis Vuitton Outlet, http://www.lv-guccishoesfactory.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.michaelkors.so/
Michael Kors Outlet, http://www.michael--korsonline.com/
Michael Kors Black Friday, http://www.michael-korsusa.net/
Moncler Outlet, http://www.moncler-clearance.com/
North Face Outlet, http://www.north-facesoutlet.com/
North Face Jackets Clearance, http://www.north-faceclearance.com/
Cheap Oakley Sunglaases, http://www.oakleyssunglassoutlet.com/
Michael Kors Outlet Online, http://www.official-mkoutlets.com/
Prada Outlet Online, http://www.official-pradaoutlet.com/
Polo Outlet Store Online, http://www.polo-outlets.com/
Polo Outlet Online, http://www.ralphlauren.so/
Ugg Boots Outlet, http://www.cheapuggsbootsr.com/
Ralph Lanren UK, http://www.ralphlaurentshirts.com/
Tory Burch Shoes, http://www.tory-burches.com/
Longchamp Outlet Online, http://www.longchampsoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://coach.mischristmas.com/
Barbour Jackets Black Friday, http://www.barbour-jacketsoutlet.com/
Monster Beats Outlet, http://www.beatsbydreoutlet.net/
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Store, http://www.tommyhilfiger.in.net/
Polo Outlet, http://www.ralphslauren.co.uk/
Uggs Cheap Oultet, http://www.warm-boots.com/
Woolrich Jackets Outlet, http://www.woolrich-clearance.com/
Nike Air Max Shoes, http://www.nike-jordanshoes.com/
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet Online, http://www.tommy-hilfigeroutlet.com/
North Face Outlet Online, http://www.official-northfaceoutlet.com/
Monster Beats Outlet Online, http://www.monsterbeatsbydres.net/
Cheap Canada Goose Jackets, http://www.canada-gooser.com/
Coach Factory, http://www.bestcustomsonline.com/
Coach Black Friday 2014, http://www.coach-blackfriday2014.com/
coachfactory.com/shop, http://www.coachccoachoutlet.com/
Coach Bags Store, http://www.coach-clearance.com/
Coach Factory Outlet, http://www.coach-factories.net/
Coach Factory Store, http://www.coach-factorysoutlet.com/
Coach Outlet, http://www.coachlosangeles.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.coachoutletstates.com/
Cheap Coach Purses, http://www.coach-pursesoutlets.com/
Hermes Bags Outlet, http://www.hermes-outletonline.com/
Black Friday, http://www.misblackfriday.com/
Coach Factory Outlet Online, http://www.mischristmas.com/
Moncler Jackets Outlet, http://www.mmoncler-outlet.com/
Coach Purses Store Online, http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/
Ralph Lauren Polo, http://www.ralphlaurenepolo.com/
Coach Outlet Online, http://www.zxcoachoutlet.com/
Ferragamo Outlet Online, http://www.ferragamos.in.net/
Uggs Boots Outlet,http://www.misblackfriday.com/uggsale.html
Discount Ugg Boots,http://www.mischristmas.com/uggboots.html
http://www.newoutletonlinemall.com/coachoutlet.html

http://www.zxcoachoutlet.com/coachoutletonline.html

Zheng junxai5 said...

2015-07-14 zhengjx
louboutin femme
kate spade
gucci sito ufficiale
louis vuitton sacs
cheap ray ban sunglasses
mcm backpack
rolex watches for sale
cheap snabacks
oakley sunglasses cheap
oakley sunglasses outlet
michael kors bags
mcm bags
jordan femme
christian louboutin shoes
kate spade outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
true religion sale
michael kors
polo ralph lauren
ray ban outlet
kate spade outlet
michael kors watches
coach outlet
tory burch handbags
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
longchamp pas cher
chanel handbags
tn pas cher
burberry sale
michael kors handbags
cheap oakley sunglasses
tory burch outlet
oakley sunglasses sale
louboutin
oakley store
cheap oakleys
longchamp
coach outlet store online
cheap oakley sunglasses