Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Holy Ghost Church – 5:00 Mass
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11
The Wedding at Cana
In today’s first reading, the Prophet Isaiah tells us how much God the Father delights in us, members of his Church, members of the body of his only begotten Son. He compares us to a precious crown, a diadem, and tells us that God loves us so much that he desires to marry us!
Think about this for a moment! Almighty God, the creator of the universe and everything in it, He who is eternal, He who created time itself, loves us so much that he actually rejoices in us, his creation, as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride! And he truly did marry us, he became one with us, when he sent his only begotten Son to be born in time, assuming our flesh and becoming like us in all things but sin. Jesus, the Word of God, took on our humanity so that we could partake in his divinity!
Isaiah’s marriage imagery in today’s first reading forms a rich context within which John invites us to contemplate the story of the wedding in Cana. Based on this imagery of God loving us as a bridegroom loves his bride, it is only fitting that Jesus’ first recorded miracle would take place at a wedding. It is also important to understand Mary’s role in this miracle, Mary the Mother of God from whom Jesus took his flesh.
We’ve all heard this story many times. But regardless of how familiar we may be with it, there is always something new we can learn. The hosts of this wedding had run out of the most important ingredient for their seven-day celebration. Yes, weddings in Jesus’ day were week-long affairs and wine was an important ingredient for keeping the festivities going. Wine is a symbol of joy and adds to the warmth of celebration.
The wine running out at Cana can be symbolic of what we experience, spiritually speaking, when we lack inspiration, fervor, zeal, or joy—when we find ourselves dry and unmotivated. We’ve all had these moments and many of us have experienced spiritual dryness for days, months and possibly for many years.
One of the lessons from today’s story of the Wedding at Cana is that Mary is the one to go to when our wine runs out. She brings our problems to Jesus. She is our spiritual mother and the first one to notice when we are down and in need of her Son. She was the one who noticed that the wine was running out and simply said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” She knew that her son would listen to her as she interceded for this newly married couple. When we need to renew the source of our life and joy we can always turn to Mary, confident that she will intercede most powerfully for us with her Son.
It’s also important for us to recognize that there was an important condition of her intercession that goes hand-in-hand with this request of Jesus. It’s critical that when we ask Mary to intercede for us that we are prepared to obediently respond to whatever Our Lord asks of us. Mary says to the servers, as she says to us, to “Do whatever he tells you.”
When we make requests of Jesus through a powerful intercessor such as Mary, or when we pray to him directly, we must be prepared to listen to Our Lord. This means we must be willing to make changes in our lives, to do things differently, or to think differently about the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It is foolishness to believe that we can continue doing whatever we want when the Lord specifically asks us to make changes in our lives, to do things differently, before he heals or works a small miracle for us.
We must cooperate with the Lord if we expect him to work miracles for us. Just as his request that the servers filled the large jugs with water must have seemed strange or even pointless to them, if they had not listened to him there would have been no water for Jesus to turn into wine. The point is that we must do our part by acting upon Jesus’ commands as they are revealed to us through prayer and the teachings of the Church if we are to experience his healing power in our lives.
In many places in the Gospels, Jesus began his miracles by working with ordinary things, like loaves and the fishes in the feeding of the five thousand, or like his bread and wine in the Eucharist. Here, to give these people the wine (joy, inspiration, fervor) that they need, he first asked them to give him what they had.
In our moments of need and emptiness, it can seem we have absolutely nothing to give or that what we have to give is useless. Jesus wants us to give him what we have anyway. Then he uses it to do extraordinary miracles. This is what happens in every sacrament. He shows his power and glory by giving us great gifts using ordinary means, so let’s not hesitate to surrender everything to him.
One final important lesson I’d like to propose we take away from today’s miracle at Cana is that God’s gifts are extraordinarily generous. The result of Jesus’ action surprised the wine expert. The wine he made was better than what they had before and was more abundant than they needed. These large jars each held between 20-30 gallons of water and there were 6 of them! That’s between 120 and 180 gallons of wine!
We must never forget that in our heavenly homeland we will experience a joy and abundance that we can’t even begin to imagine now. Our faith gives us the hope we need to endure the difficulties of this life believing that there is truly an eternal life waiting for us that is so incredibly abundant with joy and love that we certainly won’t remember the difficult times we experienced here during our short life on earth.
No matter where we are on our spiritual path, we can always be open to deeper transformation, knowing that when we run out of what we think we need, God will take us by surprise. He will change our emptiness, our need, the little we have to offer, into something beautiful, superabundant, and everlasting.
Finally, let us be confident that we have the most loving and faithful intercessor in the mother of Jesus. Let us be confident that Mary will bring our petitions to her Son and know that he surely listens to her requests. Let us pray today that Our Lord will increase our devotion to Mary, perhaps by making a resolution to faithfully pray the Rosary daily, knowing that she wants our relationship with her son to be nothing less than the intimacy shared between a bride and a bridegroom.