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Pastor's Letter 20220116 - 16 January 2022 - The Lord Delights in You

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January 16th, 2022

Second Sunday-Ordinary Time


Marriage Feast at Cana-Tintoretto

A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:  

For the Lord Delights in You” 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

The destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. was a shattering blow for Jews.  It was still in ruins when our First Reading (Isaiah 62: 1-5,) was written.   The prophet tells his people that God is faithful and forgiving, and strives to remind Jerusalem of its former glory and reassures his contemporaries that it would be restored. He stylizes the people’s reconciliation with Yahweh in nuptial imagery.  The Divine Architect is seen as the bridegroom who builds a new city for His bride—Jerusalem.  


Paul relates the charisms, or spiritual gifts, granted to the community in today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 12:4-11.)  The significant, and perhaps disturbing point of his analysis is the insistence that not only is there a variety of gifts, but there is a variety of service—making them, essentially, “gifts of service,” given by God.  Therefore, we must understand the Father as the source of all being and activity of mankind, to be used for service to, and the building up of, the community.   


To discover the true importance of the event at Cana, we must go beyond the festivity of the wedding (John 2:1-12,) looking beyond the “choice wine” and Jesus’ conversation with His mother.  (The key to the entire text can be found in verse 11:  “Jesus performed this first of His signs at Cana in Galilee.  Thus, did He reveal His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”)  As John’s Gospel continues, we read of seven “signs,” each successively revealing more and more of Jesus’ identity, and what He wanted to accomplish for the world.  Those who witnessed them would look beyond the wonders accompanying the signs, to come to faith in Jesus, and thereby, to glorify the Father with Him.  At Cana, He was revealed as the Messiah, and Host of the banquet of salvation.  Further, He was One who was to bring to all peoples a new way of coming to God, through His teaching and redemptive ministry.   

The Wedding Feast of the Kingdom

If we take the miracle at Cana literally, we reduce it to a “once-off” wonder, and greatly limit its meaning.  It’s not really about the power to “change water into wine.”  We already know how to do that…in our wineries and vineyards.  The miracle is something far more wonderful:  Attempting to describe the relationship between God and His people, the Bible uses the image of the Bridegroom with His bride (as we saw in our earlier reading from Isaiah.)  The prophets of old promised an abundance of wine in pre-Messianic days—something that Jesus did, at Cana.  And all those who tasted it, agreed it was better than the old wine.  We see not only Jesus’ power, but also His generosity—six 20–30-gallon containers of “new wine!”  Here we appreciate some of the “warmth” of His heart.  The New Covenant begins with an act of compassion.  

Everywhere Jesus went, the “old” was made “new:” for the widow of Nain, He changed her tears into joy; for Zacchaeus, He changed selfishness into love; for the thief, on Calvary, He changed despair into hope; and on Easter morning, He changed death into life….

His very presence changed the lives, of those with whom He came into contact, beyond recognition.  And He continues to do this for anyone who believes in Him, and follows Him.  He transforms our lives into something wonderful, offering us something for which we pine, but can’t achieve by ourselves—a share in divine life—nothing less than the ecstasy of communion with God!  But all of this remains at the level of “theory,” unless we experience it in our own lives…unless, in some way, Jesus changes water into wine in our own lives….

Water—a good thing, necessary for bodily survival, in fact—gives satisfaction, but not joy.  Wine, on the other hand, intoxicates and raises the spirit.  Blessed are those who thirst for the “new wine” that Jesus provides!  The old is “promise;” the new is “fulfillment.  Material things cannot do this.  Only Jesus brings a new dimension—joy—to life.  We must remember that He always uses human intermediaries to convey His gifts.  He asks us to share the gifts He has given us with others.

When the “Wine Runs Out”

The typical marriage starts with a feast of joy and enthusiasm: the couple is surrounded by friends and well-wishers who shower them with gifts.  Full of hopes and dreams, they set of on their honeymoon.  The wine is flowing freely….

When they return, the real business begins—setting up a new home, and learning how to live with one another.  At first, they find great joy in each other’s company.  They are convinced their love was preordained in heaven, and meant to last for an eternity.  The wine is still flowing….

However, when human beings are very close to one another for an extended period, inevitably problems surface.  Tensions arise; they realize they did not marry an “angel” after all, but a human being, wounded by sin and selfishness.  They are surprised by the “poverty” they discover in one another.  The honeymoon is over; the wine has “run out,” and all that is left is the “water” of their own meager resources. 

Much the same occurs in careers, professions and even vocations to the clergy.  The “wine runs out” there, too—the initial joy, enthusiasm and idealism ebbs.  All that remains is the “water” of routine, dullness and possible disillusionment.  But…back to marriages….

What are people to do, after the first wine has run out?  Some may be tempted to run out with the wine….  An attitude of, “There’s nothing in it for me, anymore,” may well set in.  While this may sound “reasonable,” it reeks with selfishness.  For such people, marriage is only a passing alliance of two selfish human beings.  So, when they have taken all they can from each other, they begin to look elsewhere for “more fruit” that can be “picked and eaten” without pain or effort.  Such occurrences may happen far later in married life, rather than just at the outset, but the effect is the same.  

So, what can couples do?  To begin, they must acknowledge that the “first wine”—all those preconceived, naïve, romantic notions—have run out.  At that point, anyhow, they will have to make do with only water.  They must not panic, or despair, when that happens. They must “hold on,” and resist the temptation to abandon the relationship and lose themselves in their careers or hectic social lives. They must commit to work on their relationship and try to grow as human beings in order to discover the true meaning of love.  Such a crisis can become a rewarding opportunity.

It may surprise some people that it’s necessary for the first wine to run out—otherwise the new wine couldn’t ever come in!  “First love,” no matter how romantic and beautiful, cannot last.  It is bound to wear out….  But it must do so, in order that a new and deeper love is to be born.  The new love consists in putting the other person’s needs before one’s own.  One has to forget oneself and find joy in loving, rather than being loved; in giving rather than in receiving. 

Love is a difficult adventure.  To enter marriage is to enter a school of love, a school in which we are all “slow learners.”  That is why we need the presence of Christ in our lives.  

The new wine is not just meant for married couples.  Everyone must understand the adage that “new wines cannot be put into old wineskins.”  This means we have to change our perspective, and give Christ a chance to touch our hearts and to love unselfishly.  For those who seek His help, the miracle of Cana still happens—the water of selfishness can be changed into the wine of true love.  And wonderful as the old wine may have been, the new wine is still better….

  May God Richly Bless You!

"Running out of wine was hardly a life-or-death situation, nor was anyone in physical pain.  Yet, [at Cana,] Jesus interceded with a miracle to solve the problem.  God is interested in every aspect of your life."

--Christian Inst-"Wise Quotes"~~

To view a live stream of today's Holy Mass, click here:   


Communion Invitation, A.docx

Edited by Father Michael
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