January (19) 20, 2019
2nd Sun Ord Time
Sat 4:30 pm; Sun 8 am
Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Cor 12:4-11; John 2:1-11
Normally, Deacons in the Catholic Church can be married once and only once. I have been married 4 different times…don’t worry, all to the same woman! First civilly, then in the Church in the Sacrament of Marriage, then we were very blessed to renew our vows in Cana in Israel (where we heard about in today’s Gospel), then we renewed our vows on our 25th Wedding Anniversary here at Resurrection (in the old church by Fr. Ken). Overall we have been married for over 38 years which puts my wife on the path for sainthood for putting up with me all those years!
On this 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time the focus of our readings is on marriage as a symbol of the relationship between God and His people. Did you know that your marriage is supposed to be a symbol (a sign) of our relationship with God? Marriage is a covenant (not a contract) freely entered into between a man and a woman for life rooted in unconditional, sacrificial love… Vows during the Marriage Rite, “In good times and in bad, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and honor each other all the days of your life.” That is Christian marriage and that is the relationship God desires with His people: a covenant rooted in intimate, personal, faithful love, unconditional and sacrificial, for richer, for poorer, in good times and in bad, eternal & everlasting.
In the first reading from Isaiah we hear beautiful marriage imagery: “You shall be called My Delight and your land Espoused…As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you, and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” This is marriage talk directed at you and me from our God. This is the relationship of personal, intimate love that God wants with each one of us! *And it is Jesus Christ who came to reveal this love. In the Gospel from John we hear the 1st of the 7 signs (miracles) of Jesus that reveal who He is. In John signs point to something beyond themselves (a deeper meaning & revelation). This first sign is the “water into wine” at the Wedding at Cana. On the surface it looks like Jesus was showing compassion for the bridal couple and their family who had run short of wine which was a great embarrassment. And He was helping them out with more wine that was superior to the first wine that was served…but the deeper meaning is the revelation that Jesus is the visible sign of God’s love & compassion. He is the best saved for last, superior than any other. And He is the bridegroom for His bride (the Church) you & me.
At Cana Jesus changes 6 large water jars into the best wine. 6 large jars of wine would have been approximately 120 gallons of wine. That’s a lot of wine! Enough for several wedding parties. But again we look for the deeper meaning in John which is that Jesus is the abundance of God’s saving grace, the abundance of God’s mercy offered for us in love. A mercy and love that will never run out.
Another deeper meaning is that Jesus changes what he touches. Just as He touched the water (which was good) and changed it to something better, superior wine. In the same way, if we allow Him to, He touches us and changes us from something good into something better. He changes us from an ordinary person into His image and likeness. He changes hearts and minds into His. And He changes us into a sign of His Kingdom for all to see. He changes us from thinking only of ourselves to thinking of others. And He equips us with gifts of the Holy Spirit to be signs of the Kingdom revealing the Bridegroom that is calling all into relationship with Him. He equips each of us with gifts of the Spirit as we heard in the 2nd reading, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” Gifts and abilities are given to us not for our own good but to build up the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ (Church). Let your gifts uplift those around you inside and outside the Church. The gift of healing can be a simple hug or smile, visiting someone who is down or sick or in prison. The gift of teaching or preaching may be as simple as sharing your testimony (what God has done in your life) with someone or posting something inspirational & uplifting on social media. The gift of hospitality is as simple as giving someone a ride to church or the grocery store, or welcoming someone who is different than yourself. We all have been given gifts of time, talents and treasure. It is when we share our gifts is when we are signs of God’s love and of His Kingdom.
The greatest sign of love is the Cross of Christ. The Cross is revealed to us in the Eucharist at every Mass. Jesus changes what He touches. Through His Spirit the simple bread and wine are changed into His Body & Blood. And as we receive Him in the Eucharist and allow Him to touch us we are changed, we are transformed into the image of Christ. In the Eucharist we become one with Christ just as a man and a woman become one in the Sacrament of Marriage. Just as a man and woman in marriage have an intimate, physical, emotional and spiritual relationship with each other, Jesus desires this same relationship with each of us. It is through the Eucharist that we are changed and we draw in union as one with Him…Every Mass is a “wedding feast” with Jesus as our Bridegroom. And at every Mass we should renew our vows with Him, renew our covenant with Him.
To close, we go back to the miracle (sign) of the “water into wine” at the Wedding Feast at Cana”. Who witnessed it? The headwaiter, the servers, the bridegroom, the disciples and maybe a few more. Out of all the people who witnessed this first miracle how many do you think forgot about it, didn’t think much about it, who walked away unaffected? And how many whose lives were changed? The Gospel said, “Jesus did this as the beginning of His signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed His glory and His disciples began to believe in Him.” We have heard the Gospel message over and over, we have witnessed the miracle of the Eucharist at every Mass, we have seen His glory. Do we walk away unaffected Sunday after Sunday or are we being changed, being transformed?
To summarize, Jesus wants to be in covenant relationship with us: a covenant, freely entered into, rooted in intimate, personal love, unconditional and sacrificial, for richer, for poorer, in good health and in bad, eternal & everlasting. And He equips us with gifts to be a sign of His love to draw others in to relationship with Him.