Sunday, January 17, 2016

How About Another Round?

In today's Gospel reading we have a very familiar event, one that every Christian should have heard of at one time or another.   John portrays it as the first event in Jesus public ministry.  The wedding of Cana.  It's interesting that the Bible too starts out with a wedding, then ends with a wedding.   From Adam to the banquet at the end of time, God shows us just how important his relationship is to us.  He shows it as a thing of joy, as a wedding, as an event that blesses the couple and all those around with joy and happiness.  

At this wedding though something sad happens.  The couple runs out of wine.  The party isn't over and they have run out of drink.  Oh how embarrassing!  In this culture it's a loss of face, a loss of honor!  Mary quickly runs to Jesus and informs him of the need.  Then in complete faith of her son she turns to those present and says, "Do whatever he tells you."   That's our first lesson.  The first disciple, the one who said a complete yes to God, always points to her Son.  We should listen to him, do what he tells us!  We too, then, as disciples of Christ should always point to Christ!   How powerful a lesson we receive from some of the few words recorded from our Blessed Mother in Sacred Scripture.

Then another thing happens, Jesus tells them to fill the jars with water. Jesus was more than capable of doing it himself.  He's about to change the very nature of the substance, how much more difficult would it have been to fill up the jars with it?  God can do anything he chooses.  That brings us to a truth about God though, a truth about our relationship to him.  The truth is that God can do everything, but he gives us the honor of being a part of it.  He allows us to be his hands and his feet.  He allows us to fill up our jars with things, with works.  He is going to make the wine, but he expects us to bring him the water.

That's one of the things about us as Catholics.  We know that no matter how much we work, no matter how many times we do prayers, they mean nothing without Christ's help.  We don't believe that we can ever provide the wine... but we work to provide the water.  Not because God hasn't already done the work of the Cross, but because he takes our offering and unites it with the work of His Son, to make an acceptable sacrifice.   He takes our lives... our water... and he transforms it into a beautiful, fragrant, vintage wine.    Oh how wonderful and glorious this truth is.   That no matter how imperfect my work, how imperfect my faith, imperfect my efforts... God will transform them into something worth seeing. 

That's love isn't it?  It's kind of like a child coming to their mother with a gift for their father and saying mom.. I have this little apple and I want to give it to dad.  The mother gets out the best plate, the fine gold china, and she puts the apple on it.   Then she places decorative paper around it and turns it into the gift fit for the King.  The father then sees this gift, perfected in it's beauty, and he is happy.  He would have been happy enough with the gift of the apple, right?  But both the child and the mother feel he deserves better. 

That's what this whole thing is about.   That's what Mass is about.  That's what the vestments, the gold vessels, the incense, the music... all of it is about dressing up our meager offerings.  Not because God doesn't cherish them just the way they are... but because God deserves better.  Then in the Eucharist we offer the one thing, the one gift that is worthy of God... that is the most precious gift he gave to us, the gift of His son.  We offer the Son back to the father, starting with bread and wine... something not worthy.. something plain.. the fruit of the vine and the work of human hands.  Then the Holy Spirit dresses them up, transforms them.. changes them into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Oh happy day!   Oh divine mercy! 

That brings me to one more point.  It doesn't matter how hard you try.. the inside of this vessel of ours is going to be filled with an imperfect person if you only do it on your own.  You can 'fill the jars with water'  but if you don't bring Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, into the picture.. it's just gonna be water.   If your jar is like mine.. that water isn't perfect.  It's not pure.  It's murky and muddy, and filled with the grime of this world.. but praise be to God that through the Sacraments, he can take even the yucky water that I offer and transform it into the finest of wines!  Are you ready?  Is there anything standing in your way?  Get to those Sacraments! Come to Him, the King of Kings, and offer yourself to Him.. and let Him transform you into the person that he created you to be... Free to worship him without fear, Holy and Righteous in His sight, all the days of your life!

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."