January 20, 2019
2nd Sunday Ordinary Time C
Three Sundays and three epiphanies in a row: Magi from the East, the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding Feast at Cana when Jesus changes water into wine. In the Gospel according to St. John, the public ministry of Jesus begins at a wedding feast when the Mother of Jesus tells her son: “They have no wine.” This is significant. Weddings go on for days as families, neighbors and villages come together to celebrate. Marriage reminds the Jewish people of their covenant with God that Isaiah speaks of as being espoused “as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”
The Mother of Jesus sets a good example for his disciples. She brings a concern to Jesus as we do often in prayer. She listens carefully to the words of Jesus: “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus is placing her petition in the context of God’s plan, of God’s will. How does it fit in? She replies not to Jesus but to the servers: “Do whatever he tells you.” We see a pattern for our petitionary prayer: bring our request to the Lord; listen to Jesus; try to discern the plan of God; and then listen to what Jesus tells us to do. Do we really expect God to answer our prayer if we are not willing to listen and to lend a hand?
This “sign” that begins the Gospel sheds light on verses near the end with Jesus dying on the cross. “The hour” of Jesus comes at his passion. When Jesus sees his mother and the disciple he loves, he says: “Woman, behold your son” and then to the disciple: “Behold your mother.” Jesus then says: “I thirst.” They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus takes the wine, he says: “It is finished.” Jesus bows his head and hands over the spirit. The side of Jesus is pierced and blood and water flow out.
The deeper meaning is clear. Jesus is imparting his spirit and bequeathing his very life to the beloved community at the cross. The wedding feast prefigures “the hour” of his return to the Father and his coming/abiding with us in Spirit and in sacramental life of the Church. “Mother” Teresa of Calcutta had the words of Jesus: “I thirst” inscribed in the chapel where the missionary sisters gathered for worship and Eucharist. “I thirst” are the words of Jesus and of humanity longing for God’s love.
During Advent we celebrate the coming of Jesus in the past, in the future and in the present. The dimension of time is emphasized but time is always associated with a place. When we remember Jesus coming in the past we think of Bethlehem or today coming to us at Eucharist. We can imagine moments in the day when Jesus comes as we wait in line, as we call someone on the phon... READ MORE
It was a very moving service at the National Cathedral with living Presidents of the U.S.A. and world leaders and dignitaries listening to the words uttered at the funeral of George H. Bush. So many beautiful words were said in song, in prayer, in reading of Sacred Scripture, in homily and in eulogy. “Eulogy” means “good words.” Today in the Gospel according to St.... READ MORE
First Sunday of Advent We honor #41 President George H. Bush who died on Friday. He used an image of “1,000 points of light” to describe the richness and diversity of communities in America -- varied, volunteering and unique. This weekend we begin a season of lights for Jews and for Catholic Christians. Sunday evening (Dec 2) is the beginning of Hanukkah when candl... READ MORE
Solemnity of Christ the King How can Jesus be called a king now when he resists the title during his life? In the Gospel according to St. John, after Jesus feeds the multitude, when the hungry crowd tries to make Jesus king, he flees into the mountains (Jn 6:1-15). They are looking to him to be a political/military leader like King David in order to break the yoke of R... READ MORE
32nd Sunday Ordinary Time B How does Jesus know that the woman who makes an offering is a poor widow and she is giving a few cents? The extensive temple complex includes a “court of the women.” Adjacent to this gathering place is a hall in which visitors to the temple can make offerings of money for upkeep of the sanctuary and its daily sacrifices. This hall is call... READ MORE