Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is with us, He is around us, and He is within us. He is the bride of the Church, and therefore, He is also our bridegroom, and we are united intimately with Him. That was why Jesus told the disciples of John the Baptist, that His disciples did not fast the way that they and the Pharisees had done, because the Lord Himself walked among them, the disciples, that they should indeed rejoice for being given such a privilege. And indeed, why lament, or be sorrowful, or fast when the Lord Himself is with us? We should indeed be happy and joyful.
And even the more reason we have today to rejoice in the presence of our Lord, because our Lord Jesus Christ had died for us, and is risen, triumphant over evil, sin, and death. He redeemed all of us, without exception, from our fate that is death, because of our sinful rebellion. That is the even greater reason why we should be joyful and rejoice over such a great victory, the victory over sin. If we accept the salvation offered freely by our Lord Jesus Christ, death will no longer have any power and hold over us, and we will enjoy life eternal with our Lord in heaven.
The Lord Jesus today talked about the wineskins and the clothes in today’s Gospel reading, and these parables are a very strong indication and teaching to us, that when we accept Christ, as our Lord and Saviour, we must be renewed, rejuvenated, into a new life in Christ, and abandon our old life, the old life of evil and sin. That old life, that sinful existence before we accepted Christ is the old wineskin, old wine, and the old cloths, while the new life in Christ is akin to the new wineskins, new wine, and the new cloths.
So incompatible evil is with our Lord, who is Love, perfection, and the ultimate good, that indeed, just as Christ had said to His disciples, that we cannot patch old cloths with new cloths, neither can we put old wine into new wineskins, or new wine into old wineskins. We have to transform ourselves so that we can truly belong to Christ. For Christ will descend upon us and dwell within us through the Holy Spirit, that our bodies should be transformed into the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Upon our baptism, our old sins and the sins of our forefathers, of the rebellion of man against the love of God, are erased. This is the purification of our body and our soul from evil, from the slavery of Satan, into the holiness of Christ. That is why, we must ever be vigilant, and ever remember that our bodies, our hearts, our minds, and our souls must always remain as clean as possible from the taints of Satan and his darkness.
For Satan certainly does not sit idly by while we are saved by the Lord. He will use all of his power and all the tools in his possession in order to corrupt us back and allow us to fall back into his fold, thus preventing our salvation and instead bringing about our eternal damnation with him in hell. Dear brothers and sisters, we must always be vigilant, because Satan is a trickster, and his ideas are many. While what Jacob did in order to gain inheritance from his brother Esau in the first reading should not be a condoned act, although it was indeed in God’s plan, it can give us a good insight on the kind of trick that Satan can play on us, with Satan being Jacob, and us being Isaac, who could no longer see, and thus was tricked by Jacob’s trickery and gave him the blessing intended for Esau.
Today, yet another reminder of the need to keep ourselves pure and worthy of our Lord, so that we will not fall into damnation but eternal life, exists in the person of St. Maria Goretti, whose feast day we are celebrating today. Many of us know the story of the short life of St. Maria Goretti and her tragic death in defense of her faith and obedience to the laws and to the will of God.
St. Maria Goretti was still only 11 when she died, in a horrific attack in a rape attempt by Alessandro, a boy whose family lived together with St. Maria Goretti’s family. St. Maria Goretti rejected Alessandro’s advances and attempts, and constantly reminded him that what he was trying to do is a sin, and doing so would cause him to be condemned into hell. St. Maria Goretti also said that it is better for her to die rather than to betray her faith and dedication to the Lord, and rather than to sully her purity.
Despite being attacked and ravaged by Alessandro’s wrath, which eventually caused her death, St. Maria Goretti forgave her assailant, and prayed for his salvation, and for him to eventually join her in heaven. She died soon from her wounds, but her good works did not end there. Alessandro, her murderer, eventually regretted his deeds and renounced his past sinful ways and reformed himself in the Church, eventually dying in peace and love as one of God’s servants. He is now certainly with St. Maria Goretti in the glory of heaven and eternal life.
The example of St. Maria Goretti should inspire us and invigorate us, to keep ourselves pure and clean from all traces of evil. Turn away from our sinful past, and all the things detestable to the Lord, that we had done all these while. Let us abandon the old wineskin, and embrace the new wine with the new wineskin. Our Lord is merciful and loving, and if we repent our sinful ways, we will surely be welcomed in His loving embrace.
Therefore, following the example of St. Maria Goretti, and in obedience to God’s will and commandments, let us fill ourselves with Christ, and reflect Christ in our daily actions, in all the things that we say and do, that we truly belong to Christ, and Satan no longer has any power or hold over us. May the Lord who loves us strengthen the faith and love that is inside all of us, that we will be saved, and will be with Him for eternity in the bliss of eternal life in love, joy, and hope.
St. Maria Goretti, pray for us, and ask the Lord for His mercy for all of us sinners, still walking in this world, that we will not go astray from the path that the Lord had pointed out to us. Amen.