January 20th 2019. Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
GOSPEL John 2:1-11
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’. Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said; ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now’.
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Kieran’s summary . . . The Gospel recounts the story of the wine running out at the wedding feast of Cana. A marriage feast is an image of the best of relationships, and is often used to symbolize the joy of a proper relationship with God. But the fact is that, sooner or later, the wine runs out in all human relationships! All relationships eventually encounter crises, but a crisis doesn’t mean that the relationship should be broken off or abandoned! A crisis is an opportunity to begin relying on God. Only the Lord can be the basis of a bond that is good and permanent. The crisis is an opportunity to lift the relationship onto a higher level. In the Gospel, when the wine runs out, what does Our Lady do? She turns to Jesus and instructs everyone to do as he says. When crisis comes in life then we must stop relying on our own strategies. Instead we must abandon ourselves in obedience into the hands of Jesus. When we abandon ourselves to him in obedience, then the wine begins to flow! Then we begin to live joyful and productive lives!
In the first reading and in the Gospel, the relationship of God and humanity is represented by the image of a wedding feast.
The first reading contains the beautiful spousal call that is found in the book of Isaiah. The people of Israel will be like a glorious crown held by the hand of the Lord. “As a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you”. The paradigm of marriage is used to describe what salvation will be like. The Gospel for Sunday recounts the first sign worked by Jesus. It is good that the Gospel uses the word “sign” instead of miracle, because the notion of “sign” points to the deeper meaning of the event. Once again, as in the first reading, the relationship of God and humanity is represented by the wonderful, joyful occasion of a marriage feast. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus begins his public ministry by means of a sign worked at a wedding celebration.
The wine runs out in all human relationships. All relationships eventually encounter crisis. This crisis is an opportunity to begin relying on God. Only he can be the basis of something good and permanent. The crisis is the opportunity to lift the relationship onto a higher level
This text has infinite meaning and richness. Through the ministry of the Blessed Virgin, the power of God erupts during this wedding. As we know, the wine runs out at one point. We should note that marriage is considered the model and highpoint of all human relationships, paternal relations, maternal relations, friendship. And all relationships experience the day when the “wine runs out” – a moment of crisis looms. I know of no human relationship which does not one day have to confront the moment of the desert experience, aridity, emptiness. Wine represents joy, colour, cheerfulness and happiness; the day will come in all human relationships when it will dry up. It is not that the marriage is a mistake if crisis comes: it is when crisis comes that the marriage has the potential truly to begin. Friendship becomes more profound when it is presented with difficulty. Any relationship of collaboration has the potential to become more robust at the moment when confrontation and conflict arise. When parents are no longer able to communicate with their children and don’t know what to do: this shouldn’t be thought of as a moment that should never have arisen – it is a necessary stage of development. It is impossible to live an authentic life except through what we call the Paschal mystery - the moment when there appears to be no more life; when our capacities are no longer sufficient to save the situation. We are inclined to think that if something is right then it should be able to proceed without ever encountering difficulties. But, no, situations that are right are those that know how to confront emptiness. Human life, ironically, is something for which the human being by himself is not enough. Human life is a call to love, love of a spousal kind, where we must go beyond ourselves, beyond the limits of our own talents and capacities. In order to love to the end, it is not enough to have the intention to do so. Our good will, at most, can predispose us to grace. Love is a theological virtue and comes only from God. God has written his love in human hearts and lots of non-Christians are capable of it. But only the creator can overcome the void that one day confronts all human relationships.
In the Gospel the wine runs out and what does Our Lady do? She turns to Jesus and instructs everyone to do as he says. When crisis comes then we must stop relying on our own strategies and instead abandon ourselves in obedience into the hands of Jesus
In the Gospel story, when the wine runs out, the servants are told to fill the jars with water. The Blessed Virgin had said to them, “Do whatever he tells you”. It is important to arrive at our limits in order to discover that God, in that moment, asks for our obedience; to proceed according to his designs; refrain from following our own strategies and instead abandon ourselves to his. Our Lady is the expert at this. She said, “Let it be done unto me according to your word”. She tells the servants to do what Jesus wants and then something extraordinary happens. I usually seek to save situations on my own initiative, only to discover that I am unable. At this point I can abandon everything, which is the case with many marriages that fold up once a crisis arrives. But who says that crisis signifies the end of a relationship? It is a sign of the beginning, but the crisis can only be resolved if I cease to rely on my own strengths. It was this reliance that led to the crisis in the first place! And the crisis is the occasion to abandon oneself into the hands of God and seek to obey him! Pass over to the other side and rely on his strategy. May God allow us to appreciate how he manifests himself through our poverty and humble obedience. It is a curious thing that Jesus changes the water into wine without moving an inch. It is we servants who perform the miracle by filling the jars with water. The Lord tells us what to do and it is our hands that have the joy of performing the beautiful works. May the Lord truly grant that we come to know him through obedience, which is the way out of our emptiness and crises.