FOCUS: Each of us is the sinner Jesus came to redeem.
Nobody is perfect. We all sin and fall short of the commandments. We are exactly who Jesus came to redeem. What a gift that is! The One who is perfect in every way sought out, and chose to be one with, we who are imperfect – that we might grow in holiness and perfection. Let us commit to trying harder to avoid sin and to live more deliberately as his loving children.
Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever
In the first reading, Saul follows his animals into a place he has never been. While there, he encounters God’s prophet, Samuel, who anoints him to be the leader of Israel. In the Gospel, Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector, to follow him.
Drawing a lesson from humanity’s treatment of Jesus, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:
“This race is never grateful:
from the first,
one fills their cup at supper with pure wine,
which back they give at cross-time
on a sponge, in bitter vinegar.”
The contrast between Jesus’ first miracle at Cana and his last breaths on the cross could not be more stark. Yet, even in the celebratory setting of the wedding, there is a foreshadowing of what is to come, when Jesus remarks to his mother, “My hour has not yet come.” He then proceeds to turn water into fine wine.
On the cross, after speaking one last time to his mother, John’s gospel mentions the “hour” again. Jesus is given a sponge soaked in “common wine,”—Browning’s “vinegar”—and he releases his spirit with the words, “it is finished. His “hour” among us, the earthly mission that Jesus began with the miracle at Cana, is finished at Calvary.
We all know that Jesus suffered death with us, but today w are reminded -- he first celebrated life with us.
What's in Your Heart
“For the Lord delights in you.” Oddly, these can be difficult words to hear. We know how unworthy we feel before God. Yet God, who knows all things and sees all things, still delights in us.
What gifts of the Spirit do I have? Do I value my gifts? Do I value the gifts of others? What do I do to nurture my own and others’ gifts?
Jesus arrived at the wedding feast accompanied by his disciples. Yet after the miracle of water into wine, the gospel reports that “his disciples began to believe in him.” What signs of God’s action in my own life lately have spurred me to deeper belief?
Jesus created an amazing amount of wine. Am I aware of the abundance of gifts and grace that God is eager to pour out on me and on the community I serve?
Trusting in God’s goodness and love, let us offer to him our prayers of petition.
1) For the Church, may God continue to purify and sanctify her in her mission and ministry, let us pray to the Lord.
2) For leaders of all nations, may the Lord guide them in the proper stewardship of taxes they collect, let us pray to the Lord.
3) For all in this transitory life who are facing adversity, may God graciously look upon their needs and bring them comfort, let us pray to the Lord.
4) For God’s blessing upon all of us here, may the Lord increase our faith and commitment to the Gospel, let us pray to the Lord.
5) For all who have died, may they soon be welcomed into the joy of the everlasting banquet of heaven, let us pray to the Lord.
Loving God, hear our prayers and grant what you know we need. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In the parlance of John’s gospel, his hour was the time of the crucifixion. In that hour Jesus would take his own bride and his glory would be fully revealed. For now, out in Cana, the disciples and Jesus’ mother saw and tasted a new, fine wine that would revive a failing feast. Glorious though it was, however, it was only the beginning.
When Christ changed the water into wine by his power, the crowd rejoiced . . . . Today, it is at the banquet of the church that we are all seated, for the wine is changed into the blood of Christ, and we drink it with blessed joy, glorifying the great bridegroom.
—Romanus, fifth-century musician
May the strength of God sustain us;
may the power of God preserve us;
may the hands of God protect us;
may the way of God direct us;
may the love of God go with us this day and forever.