2016-01-17, 2nd Sun Ord C, “Do whatever He tells you!”

Homily 01-17-16
Second Sunday Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Is 62:1-5; Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11

(Scriptures included after homily)

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ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST by Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) from Basildon Park. The Italian painter born in Lucca was celebrated for his portraits.John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ transformation of water into wine was the first of seven miracles, or signs, that John compiled in his Gospel to teach people who Jesus really was.  At the conclusion of his Gospel, John explained exactly why he wrote it.

He said, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples that were not written in this book.  But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in His name.”  Jn 20:30-31

You see, John’s Gospel is kind of like a ‘living scrapbook’ of the most important events in the life of Jesus; the events that impact us the most.

It reminds me of the photos and memorabilia that families display at the visitation of their deceased loved ones.  They show us a piece of that person’s life that we may have never known.  And if we are a part of that family, and we listen very closely,  we might even catch some pretty comical expressions, like:

Oh, I didn’t know that she could sing.”

 or, “They had – how many kids?”

or, “Oh look, he had hair!”

It’s funny how we can learn so much about a person after they’re gone.  And yet, it’s through that learning that they stay alive in our hearts all the more!

And that’s exactly what John wanted!

He wanted us to fall in love with this Jesus: this Jesus, who we never actually spoke with, in person; this Jesus, who we never actually saw, with our own eyes.  And then, to recognize, that Jesus truly IS – the Son of God, by all the signs, the pictures, if you will, in John’s scrapbook.

You see, the meaning and the symbolism in this first picture at Cana in Galilee, was HUGE!

Here we see Jesus and His disciples at a wedding celebration.  Could you just imagine, having Jesus as a guest at your wedding.  “Oh look, there’s Jesus dancing with His cousin.”  “There’s Jesus joking with His disciples.”  “And there’s His mom, Mary.”  Oh, but why does Mary have such a serious look on her face?  Something must be wrong, and she’s concerned.”  “Mary is always such a caring person.

Cana Wedding Vladimir_MakovskyYou know, brothers and sisters, this was the very first time that Mary was ever mentioned in John’s Gospel.  And these were the only words she spoke.  So they must have been really important, for John to mention them to us.

Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.

Can you just picture Mary and Jesus sitting here in the front pew of our Mass.  And, in the middle of the collection, when father comes down to receive the offerings, Mary whispers to Jesus, “They’re out of wine.”  And Jesus responds,
Why should that concern us?

So Mary quietly stands up, turns around, and looking at every one of us, eye to eye, says, “Do whatever he tells you.

It truly was Holy Orders!

And we can see now, why John felt these words were so important to the big picture and to us.  You see, Mary had first-hand experience with following orders.  And unlike Eve, her predecessor, Mary understood the consequence of disobedience compared to the blessings of obedience to God’s will.

Jesus was that Blessing, for Mary and for us!

And Mary knew that NOW was the time and THIS was the place for New Beginnings.  And even though Jesus may not have agreed with his Mother’s timing, He was still obedient, even at 30-years old.

So, why now, and why there?

moses-and-the-ten-commandments-giora-eshkolJohn placed the day of Jesus’ first sign on the same day that Moses received the Ten Commandments of God’s covenant with the Israelites, on Mt. Sinai, some 1280-years earlier  (Ref. Ex 19:16).

You see, this sign was the inauguration of a NEW Covenant.  A Covenant initiated by Mary, the new Eve.  And carried out by Jesus, the new Moses.  It was a transformation from the ‘Old Law’, which the water for ritual cleansing represented, to the ‘New Life in Christ Jesus’, which the wine symbolized.  And that wine would not only be the very best, even though it came later, but it would be poured out for us in abundance, 150-gallons of abundance!

Of course we know that all of this prefigured the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted our Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, where the wine became His blood.

It prefigured the passion and death of Jesus, “His Hour,” when water and blood would flow from His side, on the cross, for us!

It reminds us of our own invitation to that ‘Heavenly Banquet‘, at the ‘Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

It shows us the abundance of our Eternal Life with God.

And it unites ALL of us, the Church of Jesus, as His Bride.

You see, this first picture of John’s Scrapbook was truly an image of Love:
– The love of Mother for Son and Son for Mother.
– The love of Mary for the bride and groom, always pointing to Jesus for Salvation.
– The love of Jesus for God, His Father,
– And the love of John for Jesus, and even for us, 2000-years later, for passing on this remarkable picture of God’s love for us, in his Gospel.

In this beautiful picture that John painted for us, Jesus not only revealed his Love, but He revealed His Glory, as well.  Jesus IS the Messianic Savior, that the Jews waited centuries for, and that we have been waiting for, forever.

And our reward for that long wait, is none less than the marvelous gifts of the Holy Spirit that Paul so eloquently described in his Letter to the Corinthians; where none of these gifts are greater than any other, but all of them are necessary for fullness; where ordinary people like you and me, are transformed into the extraordinary, like water into wine!

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As we begin this Second Week of our short, five-weeks of Ordinary Time this year, between the joy of the Christmas Season, and the penitence of Lent, it’s a good time to remember the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Words of our Mother Mary, Do whatever he tells you.

A wise man once said, “God glorifies us when He manifests Himself IN us.  And we glorify God when we manifest Him to the world,” through our mercy and our love.

Pax et Bonem.
(Peace and all Good!)

jmp 01-17-16

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 01-17-16
Second Sunday of 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. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.  Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
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. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
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. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations..

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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