2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
January 16, 2022

00:00 / 02:17

Introduction

This first reading and the gospel both proclaim a wedding. The prophets referred to our relationship with God though the symbolic images of covenant marriage, a vineyard, and drinking wine. They tell the stories of a joyful marriage between God and His people and the blessings of security and prosperity. They also write of the rebellious people and their unfaithfulness to God. So God then sends prophets to attempt to turn the people back or they will face abandonment and punishment. Finally, with repentance the bride is restored to her bridegroom, God, who takes them back, and they again live in the abundant relationship they previously enjoyed. This cycle is repeated multiple times in the Old Testament, and continues throughout time even to today, as the world now seems quite rebellious towards God.

 

In the second reading, St. Paul describes the gifts of grace that God distributes through the Holy Spirit to those who love Him. Jesus was so in-tuned to the Father, in fact He said the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, so God poured all these graces on Him. He knew the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) perfectly and understood His role in fulfilling all the prophecies regarding Him. He was filled with so much grace that He could read people’s thoughts, and could affect nature and creation. The Virgin Mary was also “full of grace” so she could clearly see and obey the will of God. We also receive these gifts from God in many different measures. He loves all of us and everyone has talents that are gifts from Him. God wants us to use these talents to do His will and share them to grow His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

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00:00 / 05:16

Gospel Explained

There are so many directions this beautiful gospel passage can go that I cannot cover all of them. That’s what makes it so valuable to listen to other observations about this story. The Bible is a living word, so I may see this story in a different light a year from now, and so might you.

Recall how when Jesus was 12 and stayed behind in the temple (Luke 2:41-52), He already understood His mission. His knowledge was impressive because not only were the scholars amazed and astounded at His understanding and answers, but He also understood that he was the son of God the Father. His reply to His parents, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know I MUST be in my Father’s house?” it sounds disrespectful to us but it couldn’t be because He would not have sinned against the 4th commandment. Jesus thought He had enough knowledge at the age of 12 to decide that it was His time to begin His mission. But Mary, filled with the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom and understanding, knew it was not yet his time. How many of us as parents had to deal with teenagers who were sure they were ready for things of the world while we knew in our wisdom that they were far from ready? So too for Mary. 

But 18 years later at this wedding, in her wisdom she must have realized that it was now the time for Jesus to begin His destiny. With her knowledge of scripture, she could see the converging of events with a wedding celebration, a need for more wine, God’s presence at the wedding in her Son, and recognized the Father’s will. Perhaps the Father knew it was time for Jesus and had his faithful servant Mary move Him forward, because His reply to her, “My hour has not yet come” hints that He had doubts; it was sort of a no. Mary didn’t have any doubts about her Son’s ability to solve this big problem, she never even told Him what to do. Was she aware He could perform miracles? If so they were private because later his relatives and the people of His hometown of Nazareth, upon hearing the news of Jesus performing miracles, had trouble believing it. All she told Jesus was, “They have no wine.” She knew and He knew what that meant, that it was about much more than wine. What she was doing was handing her son over to the world by showing His power, and it would also begin His destiny to the cross. 

The seed of the woman Eve in Genesis 3:15 had now come to pass, as Jesus would strike at the devil and crush his head. Jesus addressed Mary by the title “Woman.” This should not be read as disrespectful, because Jesus would never do that. The original word is more like “O Woman”, like in addressing God as “O Lord, ...” has a higher respect than just “Lord, ...”. He would again address her as “O Woman” as she stood at the foot of the cross, when giving her to the apostle John to care for her from now on. The title “Woman” is a statement of calling her the new Eve. The devil used the disobedient virgin Eve to bring sin into the world, but God used the obedient Virgin Mary to bring His salvation through Jesus.

The question of disrespect also comes up in Jesus’ response to Mary. “Woman, how does YOUR concern affect Me?” I was taking a bible study on the Rosary, and as we were studying the 2nd Luminous mystery, I had trouble with these words of Jesus. I went to the adoration chapel and asked Jesus why he smart-mouthed his mother like that. I then heard words so clearly spoken in my mind in the tone, “Woman, how does your concern AFFECT ME?” as if “what does this concern of yours mean to you and me?” and I heard it spoken with such love. We get a bad translation, because the Greek is read “What has it to do with me and to thee?” 

There are 14 references to Jesus saying, “My hour has not yet come.” Except for this one time, He always speaks it referring to His coming glorification which brings together His Cross, Resurrection, and His continued presence in the world through His Word and the Eucharist. This gospel story begins His walk towards His final and forever glory.
 

00:00 / 03:45

Today’s Theme

Of the many themes found in today’s readings, I’m going to focus on the wedding event. The Old Testament is filled with references to God speaking as a marriage, He the bridegroom, His people as His bride. This is where God speaks in the most loving way regarding His love for us. Jesus continues this metaphor with Himself as the groom and His Church as the bride. The meeting on Earth of the Son of God is indeed a wedding.

 

It is easily missed, but the Gospel reading starts out with the phrase “On the third day, there was a wedding.” In the Bible the third day is referred to as a time when God encounters man. As Abraham climbed the mountain with Isaac to obey God’s sacrifice order, it was the third day when they reached the peak, and had a covenant encounter with God (Gen 22:4). On mount Sinai with Moses, “On the morning of the 3rd day there was thunder and lightning... The LORD descended upon it in fire...” (Exodus 19:16-18). And of course on the third day Mary and Joseph found the lost Jesus (Luke 2:46). Most importantly, on the third day Jesus appears in glory at the Resurrection. So the leading sentence in this story indicates an amazing, bountiful encounter with the Son of God.

 

Mary noticed a big problem, the wine had run short (not out yet). She went to Jesus and simply told Him “They have no wine.” This wedding couple must have been very important to her, because with no wine the guests would all leave, to the great embarrassment of the young couple. She knew Jesus would solve this problem, because her reply was not to Him but to the servants, “do whatever He tells you.” She knew God was present at this wedding and she needed His blessing. And what a blessing it was, for the celebration continued with nearly 150 gallons of the finest wine. Abundance, just like when Jesus fed the thousands with bread and fish and there were 12 baskets left over. These acts were a sign of God walking among mankind, great abundance. This started Jesus on the path to abundantly pouring Himself out as he spoke the good news and as He healed what must have been hundreds if not thousands of people. God didn’t appear AT a wedding celebration, He appeared AS a wedding celebration.

 

I’m curious of how Jesus did this. Making wine requires grapes to grow and be harvested, then crushed, adding water, transferring from one container to another several times, which all takes TIME, lots of time, and done by humans; wine doesn’t naturally occur. But He did it instantly! Just like the bread Jesus multiplied, growing and harvesting grains, grinding it, mixing dough, and baking, that takes time. The Gospel writers don’t explain how Jesus could do this because it’s unexplainable in words, even today, but be sure there were many many witnesses to the miracle events. And Jesus didn’t even order commands to perform these miracles, they just happened. The abundance of God.

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00:00 / 03:07

Theme in our Life Today

Notice how the servants obeyed Jesus. He said to them “fill the jars with water”, and they filled them up, to the brim. This is how we should respond to Jesus when He asks of us, showing God our docility to fulfilling His will, even in small details. Not just do His work, but do it completely and enthusiastically. Jesus never said he would change the water into wine, His only commands were fill the jugs with water and take it to the headwaiter. 

Can you imagine those servants doing that? That next line, “So they took it”, what obedience in doing something that defied logic and could cost them their jobs or punishment or worse. Jesus must have commanded such respect by His presence that they would do something just because He said to. They would have to say to the headwaiter “Here’s the new wine, sir, taste it” when “they knew” it was just water! But remember what Mary had commanded them: “Do whatever He tells you.” Her words give more of a clue, because there is something of a good anticipation in that command. Those were Mary’s last spoken words in the Bible. Some people feel that her one phrase contains the entire message of the Gospels, indeed the entire Bible.

The devil performs this transformation in reverse order of Jesus. He presents the good wine first, the lures of sin in the world are very enticing. As the headwaiter said, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, the inferior one.” That’s Satan’s way and the way of the world. After sinning, supposedly drinking the good wine, we find we are drinking the bad wine because sin never delivers on it’s promise, just like the lying promises Satan made to Adam and Eve that produced the opposite effect. Did you ever notice how, after making a good confession, you can see how bad the wine of sin tasted once you are freed of its burden?

As for those who reject God, the accumulation of unforgiven sins becomes a weight on the soul, and they get used to the inferior wine of the world. The followers of Christ grow before God in knowledge and good deeds and holiness, strengthened by forgiveness. Guided by the Holy Spirit, growing in His fruits (Gal 5:22), we become a better wine with age. Hopefully our sacrifices, the crosses we bear, and our good deeds are an abundance of good wine we can pour out to the world, in the sight of God.
 

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To Prepare for this Sunday’s Liturgy, consider the following: 

1. Think about Mary going to Jesus in trust when she had a problem. Follow her example.

2. Are you living the fruits of the Holy Spirit to create an abundance of good wine to the world?

3. If Mary were to tell you “Do whatever He tells you”, would you be ready to promptly obey?

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