Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: “They have no wine.”
By: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.
Homily for Sunday January 16 2022
While there are many types of prayer (blessing, adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise), intercessory prayer—praying on behalf of others—is one of the most powerful. It is one way to love one’s neighbor because we are concerned with the needs of others rather than our own. It is emulating the one intercessor, Jesus Christ, the High Priest. “Jesus lives forever. He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb 7:24-25).
In our Gospel passage today (Jn 2:1-11), Mary makes a request of her Son on behalf of some friends in need. Her request reminds me of the word of Saint Paul to the Philippians: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (2:4). Her request is a model of the prayer of intercession.
Mary’s intercession is made within the context of a wedding to which she was invited alongside Jesus and his disciples. It is said that weddings in the Holy Land lasted a week; the entire town participated, and as a result, a lot of wine was consumed. The wedding couple ran short of wine, and Mary intercedes on their behalf. She simply tells Jesus, “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Thus, Mary shows us how to pray an intercessory prayer.
Intercession can take the form of a prayer for a friend, a family member, a person in need, a country in need, for vocations in the Church, for souls in purgatory, or even for the intentions of the Holy Father. The Book of Genesis 18:16–33, for instance, contains one of the earliest examples of intercessory prayer when Abraham pleaded with God for the deliverance of the people of Sodom.
God engages with Abraham, “a friend of God,” and tells him that he is going to destroy the city of Sodom. God doesn’t say specifically what he will do, but says he will go and see, and “I will know.” Abraham, who knows all the sins of the city and knows the city is doomed, begins to plead with God on behalf of Sodom, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?” (Genesis 18: 23-24).
“Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy” (CCC. 2635). Abraham interceded on behalf of Sodom because he loves the people of Sodom and didn’t want them to be destroyed. Moreover, he recognizes God’s mercy.
Mary’s intercession on behalf of the wedding couple is a shining example of a dialogue between God and us. She doesn’t tell Jesus what to do. She doesn’t ask for anything in particular, and she certainly doesn’t ask him to perform a miracle to make wine. She simply hands the matter over to Jesus and leaves him to decide what to do. As a result, we can learn from Mary the right way to pray. Mary simply says to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3).
Prayer entails entrusting everything to the will and judgment of God. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). Mary leaves everything to the Lord’s judgement. At Nazareth she gave over her will, immersing it in the will of God: Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word (Lk 1:38). And this continues to be her fundamental attitude. This is how she teaches us to pray: not by seeking to affirm our own will and our own desires before God, but by letting him decide what he wants to do.
Today, we are invited to learn from the Mother of God how to pray for ourselves, especially for others, and how to place our worries and concerns in God’s hands. With this understanding, let us pray for those in need of our mediation and have faith that our prayers will be answered because Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Mt 7:7).
Homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 16, 2022