2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
January 20, 2013
Jesus changes water into wine.
No small thing and it isn’t meant to be. This is first of seven great signs in John’s Gospel meant to show us who Jesus is as the Son of God with the power of God at work in him. The signs are great miracles but the miracles serve to show Jesus not just as a miracle worker but as the one the Israelites had been waiting centuries for. The miracles show us the power of God at work in Jesus. Jesus is not miracle worker but teacher with authority from God as his son.
So, we need to look not just at the signs but also the whole story around the signs.
In today’s story, the setting of the miracle says something. It is a wedding celebration. The Church has taught us that Jesus’ presence at the wedding identifies weddings as something important. Jesus won’t have gone if it was something bad.
Why are weddings good?
Weddings are about relationships. Most specifically a wedding is about the relationship of a man and woman coming together in love. God is love. Jesus values the love of man and woman as husband and wife.
We also see another relationship in the story, the relationship of Jesus and Mary. Certainly this is a relationship of mother and son and that’s important. But it’s more than that.
When his mother Mary tells him that they are out of wine, he says it’s no concern of his but he does what Mary asks of him.
What does Mary say when she hears they are out of wine? She tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary doesn’t just say this as “mom.” She says this as a disciple of Jesus, knowing and believing that Jesus will do what’s right. She doesn’t know what Jesus will do but she totally trusts him. She is the model disciple.
As the model disciple, Mary was present at the foot of the Cross where Jesus said to the beloved disciple and to us, “behold your mother.” Mary becomes the Mother of the Church and so we enter into relationship with her.
Still thinking about relationships, let’s go back for a moment to the changing of the water into wine. I said it was the first of seven signs. As signs, they point us to who Jesus is so that we might enter into relationship with him and seek to continue to deepen our relationship with him.
But relationship with God is not new with Jesus. Our relationship with God takes a new direction with Jesus but God has always sought a relationship with his people.
The Bible is Salvation History. It is the story of God’s relationship with his people. Think of the stories from Genesis where God is our creator. Stories of Abraham and the Exodus where God set his people free. There are the stories of Samuel and David. These stories tell us how God has always been present to his people, always been in relationship with his people.
Even in the prophets, we hear of God’s relationship with his people. Today Isaiah speaks of God’s relationship with his people. Without God we are forsaken and desolate. Isaiah tells us that God will espouse his people, marrying the Church. Without God we cannot be all that we are meant to be.
So we need to have a deep relationship with God. Relationships take work. We know this in our human relationships. We do things that hurt our relationships with other people but the relationship survives. In our relationship with God, we call this venial sin.
We also do things that hurt our relationships with other people. In our relationship with God, we call this mortal sin. We can break our relationship with God through sin but the good news is that God always wants to be in relationship with us and when we confess our sins, seeking Reconciliation in the Sacrament, God restores our relationship with him through Jesus’ Crucifixion. Jesus came into the world to restore our relationship with God to what it was always meant to be.
We need to talk about our relationship with God but this isn’t easy. Each of us experiences God in our own way. There are common experiences like celebrating Mass together but we each perceive it differently because of our past experiences. It can be hard to find the right words to express our relationship with God to others. The only way we are going to learn is to start talking about God.
For a starting point, let me pose a question to you. I remember when I was taking a spirituality course in seminary. We were discussing the Trinity. The teacher then asked who do we pray to. Do we pray to the Father, or the Son, or to the Holy Spirit?
Someone might like to ask, ‘Does it matter?” In one sense, it doesn’t. They are one God but yet it can say a lot. For instance, do we relate more to Jesus since he is the one who became man and knows what it is like to be human and to suffer?
Do we pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom, understanding, or guidance?
We pray based on what we have experienced in our relationships. What is your relationship with God like and how do you experience it in others?