Second Sunday after Epiphany: January 17, 2016
Delivered by Most Reverend Roger LaRade, O.F.A.
Beloved Disciple Eucharistic Catholic Church, Toronto
Jesus "comes out"
Romans 12: 6-16, John 2: 1-11
This past Wednesday, the tirtheenth of January, we commemorated the Baptism of Jesus, and in doing so, we ended the season of Christmas-Epiphany. Today we celebrate the second Sunday after Epiphany. This year this is the only Sunday after Epiphany that we celebrate. Next Sunday, we enter already into the Pre-Lent season with Septuagesima Sunday. So, today is our only ‘green’ Sunday in a while and for several months to come.
I was of two minds in preparing the homily for this Sunday. It is, of course, an opportunity to talk about the Sacrament of Marriage, and of our Church’s position of inclusive Marriage. I’ve already issued a Pastoral Statement on inclusive Marriage. I will repost this on our Church Blog. But, I decided to focus on the significance of the miracle, or sign, performed by Jesus at Cana.
Over the Christmas-Epiphany season we have relived by our liturgical celebration and observance the foundational moments of the life of Jesus: His birth, the adoration of the Magi, Jesus at the age of twelve showing wisdom in the Temple, and His Baptism in the Jordan. Today, we are invited to be present at the wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed the miracle which is seen as the beginning of His public ministry.
In each of these ‘moments’ in the life of Jesus, there is a manifestation, and each one seems to widen the scope of the manifestation. We can go back to the Annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel, a private revelation, or manifestation; as well as, the revelation to Joseph in his dream. The Angelic praises in the “Glory to God in the highest” at the Nativity was witnessed by a small group only. Then, we have the Magi, who follow the star in faith, and adore the Child Jesus, again a revelation to a small group. Today, with the miracle at Cana, Jesus “comes out” if you will. We hear that by this action, Jesus “revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”
Whenever we hear the gospel proclaimed at Mass, or when we read a gospel passage as part of our private or communal prayer, we should keep in mind that the purpose for reading this material is not primarily to read about historical facts. It isn’t even about drawing some lesson – practical or moral – from the passage read. Rather, we should hear or read scripture keeping in mind that in our reading, we are being invited to see it’s meaning for our present reality. In other words, in reading about Jesus changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana, we need to ask ourselves where, when and how this happens today. Let us ask ourselves: “What is it like to drink of the wine of Jesus?”
The Gospel passage for today’s Mass of the Second Sunday after Epiphany concludes by stating that in this miracle at Cana Jesus “revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” So, this action of Jesus is another manifestation in line with the manifestations we have been celebrating during Christmas-Epiphany. Yet, there seems to me to be a difference. The manifestation we witness today seems to me to be a self-manifestation. Until now, the manifestations have all happened to Jesus, as it were. Remember these manifestations over the past several weeks: His birth, the adoration of the Magi, His baptism. Even the episode of Jesus’ teaching in the Temple can be viewed as yet an immature event since it portrays Jesus at the threshold of His coming of age.
It seems to me that as we reflect on the past several Sundays we discern a process of maturation, a process of growing up. We have followed Jesus from birth to adulthood. We have now come to a point when Jesus is the agent of His own transformation; He is actively deciding to manifest Himself, to show Himself for who He is, accepting and incarnating the divine will for His human life. We may even wonder whether Jesus was not in fact revealing Himself as He was discovering Himself. If we truly believe that Jesus was fully human, this would seem to be more than likely.
In other words, through the significant moments in His life, as well as through the day-to-day living of what is known as His ‘hidden life’ – through this process of maturing, of growing in self-knowledge – Jesus discovers Himself for who He truly is. And, just as progressively, Jesus accepts His vocation and lives it out.
The same is asked of each one of us; nothing more, nothing less.
So, we come to Cana, a small town located in the north of Galilee. With Jesus we are at a wedding feast and we drink of this water changed into wine. We taste this wine which is “choice wine”, the best wine, better than any wine we have ever tasted.
How does this wine make me feel?
What effect does it have on me?
What does it tell me about our host and his regard for me, his guest?
This wine is the wine we taste at every Communion. Jesus is our priest. The water changed into wine, the wine changed into blood. This wine, this blood, is “the wine of divinity”. This wine, this blood, is “the wine of the life of God”. We take part in this self-manifestation of Jesus at every Mass we attend. Those of us who receive the wine of Jesus receive His Spirit, and so become one with Him. How appropriate then that this miracle takes place at a wedding feast, the celebration of union.
Sharing in the wine of Jesus calls us to live the life of Jesus. It calls us to maturity, to an unfolding self-discovery of our vocation, to a manifestation of our self to others, in discerning our God-given gifts to live out our vocation, as is pointed out in the Epistle reading today.
As we join in the celebration of the Eucharist, let us pray that we may taste the wine of Jesus, that His life may flow into our life, and that our life may flow into the world.
 Aemiliana Löhr, The Mass Through the Year, Volume One – Advent to Palm Sunday (1958: Longmans, Green & Co Ltd), p. 88.
 Ibid., p. 88.
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