Theme: God is for us
We begin with some off chaff intrusion with this conclusion, if for one reason or another you found a watch in a field, its intricate design and practical purpose would lead you to conclude that it had a maker. Now try to look beyond the watch to the world; this also may assist you to conclude that the beauties and complexities you see are pointing to the existence of a world maker. Indeed, God is the unmoved mover in whom all creation gets its origin.
First reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
In this reading which sounds like a poem, Isaiah portrays a deep appreciation of God. He sees God as a sincere lover whose only desire is to protect and care for the beloved. Initially the people of Judah preferred their will to the will of God, thus straying away in search of fulfillment in other relationships and alliances. For that reason, Prophet Isaiah compared their sins to those of infidelities and adulterous persons whose actions offended their divine bridegroom. Isaiah sustains that the greatest love ever known is that between two the mother and the child and that between the bride and bridegroom. Thus God through Isaiah uses conjugal language to describe his affection to Israel even when it had lost the glitter to the point of being called desolate and forsaken. Jerusalem became un-faithful to her spouse when she opted for other lovers a situation that led into exile to Babylon.
Betray not withstanding, God opts to give Israel another chance saying that even if sin had caused destruction; His love would re-establish the lost glory by making Israel beautiful again. Today, through this message of consolation God wants to make humanity presentable by loving us once again. To be loved by God as a spouse means that God has set humanity on a footing beyond reckoning. God who is so grate has chosen to be our partner for life, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, in good time and bad ones. Of all the analogies that could be chosen to express the relationship God wishes to share with us, this one is the most amazing. We, for our part need only to re possess the lost glory to allow God to love us. Hope we are ready!
Second reading: 1Corinthians 12:4-11
In today’s second reading, Paul reminds us that our God has a palette of colors. Through the gift of one Spirit, each of us has been artfully endowed with a charism that we ought to develop. These gifts have not been given for our sake but for the good of others. Paul reminded us that because of our faith in Jesus, we are no longer mere individuals but a community of beloved persons inspired and enlivened by the same Spirit. While retaining our God-given uniqueness, we are at the same time meant to cooperate so that our Spirit-endowed gifts can be a source of edification for our community in which we are witnesses to God’s love for humanity.
Paul goes ahead and names gifts repeatedly affirming both unity and diversity they contain. The gift of Wisdom endows one with the ability to explain and elucidate the deepest spiritual truths. Then Knowledge and the power to express makes its recipient responsible for teaching how to translate those deep spiritual truths into one’s day-to-day lifestyle. Faith is that depth of belief and trust in God that would dare to say to a mountain, ‘throw yourself into the sea’ and it obeys. Healing and mighty deeds are gifts that allow those who possess them to confront the range of physical, psychological, spiritual and economic ills that can beset any member of any community. Those endowed with the gift of prophecy are responsible for helping others to discover, interpret and follow the will of God in all human circumstance. Discernment of spirits enables one to sort out authentic prophets from fraud rants and to follow the way of truth. Tongues/glossolalia refers to the ability to bridge the gap between those who speak different languages and spirit-inspired utterance that is unintelligible until it is discerned by others.
All of these gifts were exercised among believers in Corinth with an intention to contribute toward the community harmony but unfortunately they created divisions and conflicts; an issue we must avoid. Today Paul invites us to remember that every gift we possess is an extension of God which we need to welcome carefully and accept with humility. Freely we have been given so we have to share freely with others.
Gospel: John 2:1-11
A small boy was asked by a visiting relative if he attended Sunday school. When he said he did, he was asked, ‘what are you learning’? ‘last week,’ came the reply ‘our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and made water into wine’. ‘And what did you learn from that story’? the relative inquired. After thinking for a moment, the lad answered, ‘if you are having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there’! You know, that is pretty profound advice. It is a good thing to have Jesus at our wedding ceremonies, indeed it is good to have Jesus everywhere we deem significant to our lives. In St. John’s Gospel the first miracle of Jesus Christ took place at wedding feast in Cana of Galilee by changing water into wine. St. John climaxes his Gospel with another ‘wedding feast of the lamb’ known as Last Super by changing bread and wine into His Body and Blood. In the first wedding feast He changes water into wine, in the last wedding feast He changed wine into His Blood which he poured out for salvation of many. The fact that St. John’s brackets his Gospel with these two weddings feasts and their miracles is not a coincidence; it is by design
Every culture recognizes the central importance of marriage in the ordering of human societies in their social structures. Marriage is the fundamental cell upon which all social bodies and human societies are built. Marriage ceremonies universally celebrate are human commitments to belong, to care, to cherish, and to love. Marriage is the matrix in which children are conceived, born, nurtured and raised. It is here that people learn to relate to others and learn to live in harmony with others. The family is the fundamental glue that holds all societies together peacefully. Secular individualism is not. Marriage nurtures generations and fosters human life. Marriage is about living together in committed way. Marriage assists the couple to understand who God is. While secularism seeks to dismiss God, marriage strives be closer to God. Marriage is about self-sacrifice for others because of love.
So when you hear talks about abortion, promiscuity, adultery, premarital sex, gay lifestyle, contraception, divorce and re-marriage and cloning; you realize that each has some disconnection with the central meaning, value and purpose of marriage. In every marriage Christ should be invited to be part of the celebration because in marriage there is life. The miracle at Cana is, among other things, a preview of the last Supper, the hour when Jesus transforms not water into wine but wine into His blood shed for all humanity. Mary tells the servants in today’s reading to ‘do whatever Jesus tells you.’ That is what faith is all about, responding to the words of Jesus, trusting that his word will be fulfilled, trusting that as he transformed the water of purification in the wine of joy, so He will transform us and lead us into the kingdom where the best is not only saved for the last, but where the best lasts.
Even today, God is asking us to be in solidarity with any one in need, more so the poor. If we helped take better care of the poor, God would take better care of us. Sooner or later, we have to get serious about how God operates in this world, where God lives in the world, how God relates to his various children in a multitude of situations. We must accept that God feels equally at home everywhere and loves everyone equally. Nobody has God in their pocket. No theology can totally encompass God. Everybody has only a glimpse of his immensity through various charisms. Even if we all see God from our own limited angle, we can recognize, accept and incorporate as many other views of God as we can. Even if our angle of faith is still limited; may Jesus turn our water into wine as he did at the wedding of Cana.