1st Reading: Am 9:11–15
“On that day I shall restore the fallen hut of David and wall up its breaches and raise its ruined walls and so build it as in days of old.
“They shall conquer the remnant of Edom and the neighboring nations upon which my name has been called.” Thus says Yahweh, the one who will do this.
Yahweh says also, “The days are coming when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes overtake the sower. The mountains shall drip sweet wine and all the hills shall melt.
“I shall bring back the exiles of my people Israel; they will rebuild the desolate cities and dwell in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will have orchards and eat their fruit. I shall plant them in their own country and they shall never again be rooted up from the land which I have given them,” says Yahweh your God.
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-17
The disciples of John came to him with the question, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not your disciples?”
Jesus answered them, “How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? Time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast.
“No one patches an old coat with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for the patch will shrink and tear an even bigger hole in the coat. Besides you don’t put new wine in old wineskins. If you do, the wineskins will burst and the wine be spilt. No, you put new wine in fresh skins; then both are preserved.”
In the Lord’s time there were no wine bottles, instead people stored wine in animal skins. When new wine was put in these skins, it was still fermenting and giving off carbon dioxide, but because the skin was new and therefore somewhat elastic, this was not a problem. With an old skin, however, it was a problem because the skin would burst and the wine would be lost. No one puts new wine in an old skin, said Jesus, using an image that was very familiar to everyone. In this passage the Lord is saying that we need to have a new mind if we are to receive the Gospel. It is a revolution, not an improvement.
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