Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the parable of new wine and old and new wineskins.
The new wine is the Good News, the Incarnation, the reconciliation of the divine and the human. But this powerful elixir cannot be contained in the receptacles of the old consciousness. As long as the ego reigns in the soul, the new wine will prove too strange, too foreign, too threatening—and it will be accordingly rejected.
Before the heady wine of the Gospel can be assimilated, there must be a scouring out of the spirit, a transformation of awareness and attitude, a metanoia. We should examine the stories of Jesus’ confrontations with the demons from this perspective. The demon within us realizes that he is the old wine skin that will be shredded by the inpouring of the new wine, and he consequently reacts in horror. It is a helpful spiritual exercise to isolate those passages from the New Testament, those sayings and actions of Jesus, which make us most uncomfortable, since they will most effectively indicate how our souls have to be transfigured. They, much more than the passages we instinctively love, will show the path that metanoia must follow.