Detailed Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: DEVELOPING CONCERN FOR OTHERS
By: Rev. Fr. Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday January 16 2022
R1 – Is 62:1-5
R2 – I Cor 12:4-11
GOSPEL – Jn 2: 1-11)
A funny story was narrated about a pilgrim returning from Lourdes, who tried to smuggle an extra bottle of Vodka (akpuru achia) through the green channel at the customs’ office, but was stopped. “What is this?” asked the customs officer. “It is just a bottle of holy water,” declared the pilgrim. The customs officer took a good swig from the bottle, then said, “It tastes more like Vodka (akpuru achia) to me.” “Amazing,” said the pilgrim, “Maybe another Cana miracle has been replicated!”
Beloved in Christ, the Gospel reading of this Sunday’s liturgy takes us to the event of the wedding feast in Cana, where Jesus reveals Divine power by transforming water into wine.
In John’s Gospel, the miracle at Cana is the first of seven “signs” and miraculous events by which Jesus showed forth Divinity:
(i) _Changing water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11)_
(ii) _Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum_ (John 4:46-54)
(iii) _Healing the paralytic at Bethesda_ (John 5:1-15)
(iv) _Feeding the 5000_ (John 6:5-14)
(v) _Jesus walking on water_ (John 6:16-24)
(vi) _Healing the man blind from birth_ (John 9:1-7)
(vii) _The raising of Lazarus_ (John (11:1-45)
It is pertinent to note that the scripture begins with the theme of wedding, that of Adam and Eve in the garden (Gn 2:23-24), and ends with another, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rv 19:9, 21:9, 22:17); indicating that there is more to marriage than we can imagine or conjecture.
At the heart of the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy is the need for us to develop concern for the needs and plights of others. This is because, the workability of the human family (marriage), does not depend on realizing our selfish goals, rather, developing and expressing deep concern and care for the good of others.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah uses the metaphor of spousal love to describe God’s love for Israel. God’s fidelity to his people is compared to a husband’s fidelity to his wife. Isaiah predicts God’s salvation of Jerusalem after the return of the Babylonian exiles and visualizes it as a wedding between God and Jerusalem.
Whereas, in the Gospel reading, we hear of water changing into wine in Cana at the wedding feast. A wedding feast would last for seven days according to Jewish customs. A large number of guests would be invited for the wedding and it was a sacred duty to lavish the guests with hospitality. Any deficiency in the hospitality would be an indelible disgrace. Mary, the mother of Jesus was present at the wedding in Cana. Jesus and his disciples were also present. At the wedding the wine ran short. We do not know the reason for the shortage, but Mary noticed the shortage and decided to do something about it. The wedding party never expected the disgrace of running short of wine. They had no wine, they could be embarrassed, but they had Jesus and Jesus is never an embarrassment to anyone. Mary, as a matter of fact, showed much concern over the plight of the couple brings this to the attention of Jesus: “They have no wine.” Jesus’ response appears strange: “Woman why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.” Yet he accedes to her request. He asks the servants to fill the jars with water and after they were filled he asks the servants to draw some out and take it to the steward. Jesus had changed the water not by any incantation or any show but by his sheer will. What God does in nature under a slow process; changing of water into wine in the vineyard, He did it in an instant at the wedding at Cana.
*CHARISMATIC GIFTS AND THE NEED TO DEVELOP CONCERN FOR OTHERS*
St. Paul in the second reading, reminds us that the new wine that Jesus pours out for us is the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to His Bride, not for our own self aggrandizements, rather, for us to use them to express concern for the good of others.
Take the case of Jesus. He knew he had this power to perform miracles. After his forty days fast in the desert he was hungry and the devil suggested it to him to turn some stones into bread and eat, but he did not do it. Yet he went out and multiplied bread for crowds of his followers. The altruistic gestures of Jesus and Mary teaches us that God’s gifts to individuals are not meant primarily for theirs or their families’ benefit but for the service of others. That is what St Paul also tells us in the second reading when he enumerates the many different gifts of the Holy Spirit to different persons and adds that “to each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good,” (1 Corinthians 12:6) not for personal aggrandizements.
We ask ourselves today, “What gifts has God given us? Are we using these gifts mainly for our own personal good or for the benefit of others in the community in which we live?”
(1) *LET US ALWAYS INVITE JESUS IN OUR HOMES*
One of the best things that happened to the Cana couple, was to give Jesus a prime place in their marriage. The presence of Jesus saved them from shame and disgrace.
When we feel shortages in our family lives, we need Jesus in our relationships. When our dreams are gone, mutual love seems dried up, the relationship becomes boring, and raising the children becomes a burden draining all their energy. The awareness of the presence of Jesus will encourage parents to create an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, mutual love, and respect, with a spirit of forgiveness and sacrificial service at home.
(2) *INTERCESSORY ROLE OF MARY CAN NEVER BE UNDERESTIMATED*
Fr Munachi Ezeogu wrote: The miracle of changing water into wine suggests that Mary did not only play the passive role of being the physical mother of Jesus; that she was also actively involved with Jesus in the work of our redemption. In other words, her intercessory role can never be underestimated.
As Catholic Christians, we always ask Mary to look within your heart, and see what is missing there. Then we ask her to go to Jesus and obtain whatever it is you lack. Thinking of Mary as she is seen in today’s gospel can help greatly in developing a very real and practical relationship with her.
(3) *WE OUGHT TO DEVELOP CONCERN FOR HUMANITY*
Just as Jesus filled the empty water jars with wine, we need to fill the empty hearts around us with love. By the miracle of Cana, Jesus challenges us to enrich the empty lives of those around us with the new wine of love, mercy, concern and care.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta once told this story: “A few weeks ago two young people came to our house and gave me a quite sum of money to feed the poor. In Calcutta, we cook for 9,000 people every day. The two of them wished their money to be used to feed these hungry people, I then asked them, ‘Where did you get that much money?’ They answered, ‘Two days ago we were married. Before our wedding, we decided that we would not spend any money on special wedding clothes nor would we have a wedding banquet. We wanted the money we would spend on these things to go to the poor.’” For high caste Hindus, to act like this was a scandal. Their friends and relatives found it unthinkable that a couple from such outstanding families should get married without bridal gowns and a proper wedding feast. So Mother Theresa asked them, “Why did you give all this money?” They gave her this surprising answer: “We love one another so much that we wanted to make a special sacrifice for each other at the very start of our married life.”
Finally, I wish to conclude today’s homily with the altruistic prayers of the miraculous saint of nature, _St Francis of Assisi_ that expresses great concern for others.
*Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
*Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
*where there is injury, pardon;
*where there is doubt, faith;
*where there is despair, hope;
*where there is darkness, light;
*where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
*FR GERALD MUOKA*