2013-01-20, 2nd C, Transformation: Water to Wine

Homily 01-20-13
2nd Sunday Ordinary C
Is 62:1-5; Ps 96:1-10; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11

(Scriptures included after homily)

Today’s Scriptures are a theological ‘Treasure Chest’ of revelation.  If we were to ask ten different people what those Scriptures were all about, we’d probably get ten different answers.

One person might say that they are about Marriage, because the readings from the Old Testament’s Book of Isaiah and John’s Gospel both spoke about marriages.  And that person might have noticed how those marriages prefigured:  1. the Last Supper of Jesus,  2. our Eucharistic celebration, here and now, and 3. our heavenly, ‘Wedding Feast of the Lamb’, still to come.

Another person might say that the Scriptures today were about Miracles.  He may have observed the Miracle of God’s restoration of Jerusalem, and the Miracle of Jesus turning water into wine.  And he may have pondered, how those miracles related to the water and blood coming from the side of the crucified Jesus, and how they relate to our liturgical practice in the Mass, of uniting the water of our humanity with the wine of Jesus’ Divinity.

Someone else may have picked up on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.  And how, even though we are each unique in the Special Gifts we have been given, we are all One in Spirit.  And how our very survival depends upon our sharing of those Gifts with one another in Unity, as the Body of Christ.

Another person may have seen in the readings, God’s Covenant to vindicate His people, Israel, after their exile and enslavement in a foreign land.  And they may have also recognized God’s New Covenant, to save ALL people from their enslavement to sin and death, through Jesus.

Then, of course, there’s the Revelation of God’s Glory: the Glory of Jerusalem, the Glory of Jesus and the Glory of us, His Bride!

The most discerning listeners may have even noticed the Trinitarian aspect of the three readings.  The first reading spoke of God the Father’s delight in His children.  The second reading spoke of how God the Holy Spirit showers us with Spiritual Gifts.  And the Gospel reading brought out the Divinity of God the Son, in this first miracle of Jesus, and as St. John’s first of seven ‘Signs of God’s Glory.’  It is in this sign, that Jesus offers us an over-abundance of the very best wine, the best that Life has to offer.

You see, these are just a few nuggets of the vast wealth of revelation hidden in today’s readings.

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Now, if you’re a ‘Google Earth’ fanatic like me, you might notice how we begin to develop a true appreciation of the term, “The Big Picture.”  Zooming around, up close, we can see the clouds, the houses, and the cars all around our planet.  We can drop down to the floor of the oceans to see their terrain.  And we can even see rain and snow coming out of those clouds.

Yet, as we zoom out further and further, we come to discover that some of those mountains under the sea rise up to become islands above the water.  And continuing upward, we might find that those clouds are really just part of a huge cyclone or a hurricane.  We can see whole towns built in the shape of a letter C, or a hexagon, or a series of concentric circles, sometimes in the middle of a barren desert or on the peak of a high mountain range.  You see, there’s always value in looking at the Bigger Picture.

Now, if we were to zoom out to view the bigger picture in today’s Scripture readings, we might discover one important word – TRANSFORMATION.

The Prophet Isaiah shows us the transformation of a desolate and forsaken Israel into a people called, “God’s Delight.”  And by this ‘New Name’, God will rejoice in the union of heaven and earth, as He, the Builder, becomes their Bridegroom.

St. Paul shows us the transformation of common people, just like you and me, into true, productive ‘Children of God’, by the working, service and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  From that reading, we might be asking ourselves, “Can we actually Heal other people?”  Well, how will we ever know, unless we try?  Can we actually perform “mighty deeds?”  Just ask your kids!  All we need do, brothers and sisters in the Lord, is to have a little Faith and allow the Holy Spirit’s guidance to transform our lives!

In John’s Gospel account today, there are almost more transformations than we can count.  Jesus himself is transformed from rebelliously challenging his mother with the words, “How does your concern affect me?” to obediently respecting her wishes, even though he may not have thought he was quite ready for the task.  Can you just picture Jesus saying, “OH Ma!”  And Mary thinking, “Oy vey, kids!”

Ever been asked a favor, by surprise?  It seems to happen to us all the time.  And how do we respond?  You see, by His obedience, the Human Jesus, demonstrated how He, and we, can be transformed into Divinity – by a simple and respectful response.  And that’s one for all of you kids to remember.  By our obedience to our parents and teachers, even when we don’t feel like it, we become more like Jesus, more like God.  And moms and dads, our lesson today comes from Mary’s last words in the Bible: “Do whatever He tells you!”  Are we listening?

Then continuing; of course, there was the transformation of the water into wine, and all of its theological implications, with one additional note:  Beyond its being Jesus’ first miracle, its saving the wedding party and Jesus obeying His mom, the transformation, which turned the water used for “Jewish ceremonial washings” into the wine used for a Wedding Celebration, represented the transformation of the old Jewish Law into the New Christian Way of life.

It truly was, and is, a Monumental Statement!  Do we follow civil laws to break moral laws?  Or does Moral Law guide our civil laws?  Jesus said that the Moral Law is Love and Life.  And from that law everything else should follow.  Sometimes it takes a monumental transformation!

Then there was the transformation in the servers and the disciples who witnessed the whole thing.  You see, this was no magician’s trick.  The servers themselves, added the water and tasted the wine.  The disciples saw the surprise and the joy in the headwaiter’s face.  John said, that in this revelation of Jesus’ Divine Glory, “his disciples began to believe in him.”  It would be a long journey, but this was the start.

So what about us, brothers and sisters in Christ?  Does any of this have any impact on our lives?  Are we transformed in any way by this “Treasure Chest” that we’ve just dug our hearts and minds deeply within?

You see, by receiving the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in our Baptism and Confirmation, and in receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus each week here in the Holy Eucharist, our ordinary human bodies are transformed into Temples, inhabited by the Divine Life of God (water to wine).  We have become the ‘Arks of the New Covenant’.  The Covenant of God’s Love, the Holy Spirit’s Gifts, and Jesus’ Salvation for the whole world.

So now, all we need do, beloved, is Believe and Act on it!

jmp 01-20-13

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 01-20-13
Second Sunday Ordinary Time C

First Reading:  Is 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.
Nations shall behold your vindication, and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse.
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.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R.
Announce his salvation, day after day.  Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations, give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.  Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.  He governs the peoples with equity.
R.

Second Reading:  1 Cor 12:4-11

Brothers and sisters:  There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues. 
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Gospel:  Jn 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.  And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from, although the servers who had drawn the water knew, the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”

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.

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