Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church asks us all, "for some changes". She asks us to put aside perishable structures: we don't need them. Instead to take up new wineskins, those of the Gospel". This was Pope Francis' message during his homily of the Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the Gospel passage in which Jesus speaks about, "new wine and new wineskins" to emphasize that the evangelical "law" is "newness".
The scribes, the Pope observed, want to embarrass Jesus and so ask him why his disciples do not fast. But the Lord does not fall into the trap and replies speaking of celebration and novelty. "A new wine needs new wineskins. The novelty of the Gospel. What does the Gospel bring us? Joy and newness. These teachers of the law were locked in their commandments and in their prescriptions. St. Paul, speaking of them, says that before receiving the faith - in short Jesus - we all are held prisoners under the law. This law of this people was not bad: but it kept them prisoners, waiting for faith to arrive. That faith would be revealed, in Jesus".
The people "had the law that Moses had given" and then many of these "small habits and laws" that had been codified by the doctors of the law. "The law kept them, but like prisoners! And they were waiting for freedom, the ultimate freedom that God gave to His people with His Son". The novelty of the Gospel "is this: it is to redeem us from the law." "Some of you may say: 'But, Father, do not Christians have a law?'; Yes! Jesus said: 'I did not come to close the law, but to bring it to its fullness.' And, the Beatitudes for example, are the fullness of the law, the law of love, total love, as He - Jesus - has loved us. And when Jesus rebukes these people, these doctors of the law, He scolds them for not having kept the people with the law, but of having made them slaves to many small laws of the many small things they must do".
Things they must do "without the freedom that He brings us with the new law, the law that He has established with His own blood." "Such is the newness of the Gospel, which is a celebration, it is joy, it is freedom." It is the "redemption that all the people were waiting for" when they were "kept by the law, but like prisoners". This is what Jesus wants to say to us: "Newness for newness, fresh wineskins for new wine. And do not be afraid to change things according to the law of the Gospel". "Paul makes a very good distinction: children of the law and children of faith. For new wine, fresh wineskins. And for this reason the Church asks us, all of us, for a few changes. She asks us to put aside perishable structures: we don't need them. Instead to take up new wineskins, those of the Gospel". "We cannot understand the mentality - for example - of these doctors of the law, these theologians Pharisees, we cannot understand their mentality with the spirit of the Gospel. They are different things. The Gospel style is a different style, which leads to the fullness of the law. Yes! but in a new way: is the new wine in new wineskins".
"The Gospel - said Francis - "The Gospel is newness! The Gospel is celebration! And the Gospel can only be fully lived in a heart joyful and a renewed heart". May the Lord "give us the grace of compliance with the law. To observe law - the law that Jesus brought to fullness - in the commandment of love, the commandments that come from the Beatitudes". May The Lord, he said, give us the grace to "not remain a prisoner," but "give us the grace of joy and freedom that the newness of the Gospel brings us".