This July 4th weekend we gather with family and friends to celebrate our U.S. Independence Day…a time for reflection and renewal. Speakers at parades celebrate the values of community engagement and civic commitment. Family picnics and neighborhood fireworks abound. Of course we observe this particular July 4, 2016 against the backdrop of ongoing international tensions and the Orlando massacre just three weeks ago. Which brings us to today’s gospel passage.

Jesus cautions us against reliance on “old wineskins”former attitudes and presuppositions which aren’t really helpful in our personal and civic lives. Current situations and struggles within our country (and perhaps within our families)  invite us to examine personal prejudices, to grow in understanding and tolerance, to find ways to accept “the other” (whatever that “other” might be in my personal and community life).  

What does Jesus’ admonition to “pour new wine into fresh wineskins” look like in my life this weekend?

—The Jesuit Prayer Team