By Robin Gomes
The Gospel, the Word of the Lord, is the “new wine” that has been gifted us, but to be good Christians we need a “new behaviour”, a “new style” that is truly the “Christian style”, and this style is indicated by the Beatitudes. This is the meaning of the ” key word ” that concludes today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark: “New wine in new wineskins”. Pope Francis made this the theme of his homily at Mass, Monday morning, at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta.
According to the Pope, we can learn about the Christian style by first knowing our attitudes that don’t belong to the Christian style. In this regard, he points to 3 of them: the “accusatory style”, the “worldly style” and the “selfish style”:
The Pope says that the accusatory style belongs to those who always try and live by accusing others, disqualifying others, acting as absent promoters of justice. But they don’t realize that it’s the style of the devil: in the Bible, the devil is called the “great accuser”, who is always accusing others.
This was the same in the time of Jesus who in a few cases reproached the accusers: “Instead of looking at the speck in the eyes of others, look at the beam in yours”; or again: “Those who have not sinned can throw the first stone”. Living by accusing others and looking for defects, the Pope says, is not “Christian”, not new wineskin.
Speaking about worldliness, Pope Francis calls it an attitude of Catholics who can “recite the Creed”, but live on “vanity, pride and attachment to money”, believing themselves to be self-sufficient.
The Pope says that the Lord has offered you the new wine but you did not change the wineskin, you did not change yourself. This worldliness is what ruins so many who are good but they enter into this spirit of vanity, of pride, of being seen… Humility that is part of the Christian style, like that of Our Lady and St. Joseph, is lacking, the Pope says.
Commenting on the third un-Christian style, the Pope says it is the selfish spirit, the spirit of indifference that is common in our communities. One believes oneself to be a good Catholic but doesn’t worry about the problems of others – wars, illnesses and the suffering of our neighbours. This, the Pope says, is the hypocrisy that Jesus reproached the doctors of the law for. What then is the Christian style?
According to the Pope, the Christian style is that of the Beatitudes: meekness, humility, patience in suffering, love for justice, ability to endure persecution, not judging others… If a Catholic wants to learn the Christian style, so as not to fall into this accusatory style, the worldly style and the selfish style, he/ she must read the Beatitudes. They are the wineskins, the path we must take. To be a good Christian one must have the ability not only to recite the Creed with the heart but also the Our Father with the heart.
By Robin Gomes