Sunday, January 16
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Roman Ordinary calendar
Book of Isaiah 62,1-5.
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.
Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He governs the peoples with equity.
First Letter to the Corinthians 12,4-11.
Brothers and sisters: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit;
to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 2,1-11.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
(And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom
and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
Excerpt from The World’s First Love by Bishop Fulton Sheen:
The second lesson of Cana is that Mary intercedes to gain us what we need, without our always knowing our needs. Neither the wine steward nor the diners knew that the wine was failing; therefore, they could not ask for help. In like manner, if we do not know what our soul needs, how can we put such needs in our prayers? Often we do not know what is vital to our lives: St. James tells us that we do not ask aright, but seek to satisfy only our carnal and egotistic desires.
Surely we could go to Our Lord, as the wine steward, as the diners could have gone to Our Lord. But they did not go, and some of us would not go at all; or, if we did go, we would not always ask for the right thing. There are so few of us who know the reason for our unhappiness. We pray for wealth, to “break the bank,” to win the Irish Sweepstakes; we ask for peace of mind, and then dash off to a psychoanalytic couch – when we should ask for peace of soul, be on our knees bemoaning our sins and asking pardon. So few of us know that we need God. We are at the end of our strength and even of our hope; and we do not know that we ought to be asking for Divine strength and Divine Love.
That is where devotion to Mary comes in. The people at the table did not know what they needed to maintain the joy of the marriage feast, even when the Lord was in their midst. There are many of us who would not come to Our Lord, unless we had someone who knows our needs better than we know ourselves, and who will ask Our Lord for us. This role of Mary makes her acceptable to everyone. Those at the marriage table did not need to know she was the Mother of the Son of God in order to receive the benefit of her Divine Son. But one thing is certain – no one will ever call on her without being heard, nor without being finally led to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, for Whose Sake she alone exists – for Whose Sake she was made pure – and for Whose Sake she was given to us.
The Marriage Feast of Cana also reveals how Mary makes up for our battered and weak wills; she does this by substituting herself for us. It is very hard for us to receive a Divine Favor unless we desire it. Until we love and serve God, we are inert and dead. It is impossible for most of us to ask for a soul-healing, for so few of us know that we are wounded. Mary comes into this crisis of life, to substitute for us in the same way that a mother substitutes for a sick child. The child cannot tell the mother its need. There may be a pin pricking it, it may be hungry, or it may be sick. The child may cry, but it is as vague a complaint as our own adult cries when we are unhappy and fearful, worried and frustrated. The mother in such a circumstance carries the child to the doctor. The mother thus puts herself in the place of the child, who does not have the knowledge to know what is best for it, or cannot will to do anything to help itself. She “doubles,” as it were, for the freedom of the child. Thus does the mother dispose the child to receive what is best for it. And as the mother knows the needs better than the babe, so the Blessed Mother understands our cries and worries, and knows them better than we know ourselves. As the baby needs the doctor, so the Blessed Mother knows we need her Divine Son. As Our Lord mediates between us and the Heavenly Father, so the Blessed Mother mediates between us and Our Divine Lord. She fills our empty pots, she supplies the elixir of life, she prevents the joys of life from ebbing away. Mary is not our salvation – let us not be absurd on that. The mother is not the doctor, and neither is Mary the Saviour. But Mary brings us to the Saviour!
Three years now pass, and all that Our Blessed Lord told His Mother at Cana is fulfilled. The hour is come, the wine has changed to blood. He has worked His miracles and men have crucified Him. Unfurled on either side of Him, as if to put Him in their class, are two thieves. The world will allow only the mediocre to live. It hates the very wicked, like the thieves, because they disturb its possessions and security. It also hates the Divinely Good, it hates Our Blessed Lord, because He disturbs its conscience, its heart, and its evil desires.
Our Blessed Lord now looks down from His Cross to the two most beloved creatures that He has on earth, John and His Blessed Mother. He picks up the refrain of Cana, and addresses Our Blessed Mother with the same title He gave her at the marriage feast. He calls her, “Woman.” It is the second Annunciation. With a gesture of His dust-filled eyes and His thorn-crowned head, He looks longingly at her, who had sent Him willingly to the Cross, who is now standing beneath it as a cooperator in His Redemption and He says: “Behold thy son.” Then, turning to John, He does not call him John; to do that would have been to address him as the son of Zebedee and no one else. But, in his anonymity, John stands for all of us – Our Lord thus says to His beloved disciple: “Son, behold thy mother.”
Here is the answer, after all these years, to the mysterious words in the Gospel of the Incarnation which stated that Our Blessed Mother laid her “first born” in the manger. Did that mean that Our Blessed Mother was to have other children? It certainly did, but not according to the flesh. Our Divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the only Son of Our Blessed Mother by the flesh. But Our Lady was to have other children, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit!