Second Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr Peter Chinnappan
Homily – Jan 19/20 [C]): Is 62: 1-5; I Cor 12: 4-11, John 2: 1-11
Introduction: This week we are at a wedding in Cana where Jesus reveals his Divine power by his first miracle, transforming water into wine. The Bible begins with one wedding, that of Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 2:23-24), and ends with another, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9, 21:9, 22:17). Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the Covenant relationship between God and His chosen people. God is the faithful Groom and humanity is His beloved bride. Let us pray for God’s daily miracles in our families.
Scripture lessons summarized: We see this theme beautifully presented in today’s first reading, where Isaiah uses the metaphor of spousal love to describe God’s love for Israel. God’s fidelity to his people is compared to a husband’s fidelity to his wife. Isaiah predicts God’s salvation of Jerusalem after the return of the Babylonian exiles and visualizes it as a wedding between God and Jerusalem. Jesus’ provision of abundant wine for the wedding feast in Cana signifies that the day foreseen by Isaiah has arrived. In today’s second reading, St. Paul reminds us that the new wine that Jesus pours out for us is the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to his bride. In today’s Gospel, John describes the first of the seven “signs’ by which Jesus showed forth his Divinity. When the wine “ran short,” Jesus’ mother told him about it. At first Jesus seemed to refuse to do anything about it. But later he told the servants to fill six large stone jars with water and take some of the miraculously-made wine to the headwaiter. When they did so, the headwaiter expressed his surprise that such a great wine had been reserved for late use.
Transformation at the hand of Christ: It is said that the writer Leo Tolstoy experienced that kind of transformation. He told about it in a book titled, My Conversion. Tolstoy wrote, “[When] Faith came to me; I believed in Jesus Christ, and all my life suddenly changed. I ceased to desire that which previously I had desired, and on the other hand, I took to desiring what I had never desired before. That which formerly used to appear good in my eyes appeared evil and that which used to appear evil appeared good.” Before his conversion, Tolstoy had acquired fame and fortune through his great writings. But he was unsatisfied. “I fought duels,” he wrote. “I gambled, I wasted my substance wrung from the sweat of peasants and deceived men. Lying, robbery, adultery of all kinds, drunkenness was my life.” His conversion, one of the most dramatic of modern times, gave his life a new purpose, a new meaning and, he affirmed, an abiding satisfaction. [William E. Thorn, Catch the Little Foxes That Spoil the Vine (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1980).] All of us remember the story of the old alcoholic who ended his addiction. When asked about Jesus’ miracle of turning the water into wine replied, “I don’t know about that, but I do know that in my house Jesus changed whiskey into furniture.” Many millions of people over the centuries have experienced that kind of transformation at the hand of Christ. The miracle of Cana gives us that lesson
Life messages: 1) Let us, “invite Jesus and Mary to remain with us in our homes” when we feel shortages in our family lives. The spouses need Jesus and Mary when their dreams are gone, mutual love is dried up, the relationship becomes boring and raising the children becomes a burden draining all their energy. The awareness of the presence of Jesus and Mary in the family will encourage parents to create an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, mutual love and respect with a spirit of forgiveness and sacrificial service at home. It will refresh and renovate family life, removing its boredom.
2) Let us follow Mary’s instruction, “Do whatever He tells you.” This is the only command given by Mary which is recorded in the New Testament, and it is a prerequisite for miracles in our families. The Bible tells us how to do the will of God and effect salvific changes in our daily lives. 3) Just as Jesus filled the empty water jars with wine, let us fill the empty hearts around us with love. By the miracle of Cana, Jesus challenges us also to enrich the empty lives of those around us with the new wine of love, mercy, concern and care. 4) Let us learn to appreciate the miracles of God’s providence in our lives. God, often as an uninvited guest in our families, works daily miracles in our lives by protecting us from physical and moral dangers, providing for our needs, inspiring us and strengthening us with His Holy Spirit. Let us also appreciate the miracle of the Real Presence of the Lord on the altar where God transforms our offering of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.