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Sunday, January 20, 2019

A Homily - The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


First Reading - Isaiah 62:1-5 ©
Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 95(96):1-3,7-10 ©
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ©
Gospel Acclamation - 1saiah 3:9, and John 6:68
Alternate Gospel Acclamation - 2 Thessalonians 2:14
The Gospel of The Day - John 2:1-11 ©
(NJB)

In the reading for today from the prophet Isaiah, we receive an expression of profound hope for the future of Israel and by extension the whole world.

Was Christians, and as theists we are called on to brandish that hope, carry it forward, not only for ourselves, but for all people in all places at all times.

Following the thought of Isaiah we come to understand that this hope is like the hope of a young couple entering into marriage. They do not know what the future will bring but they are determined to face it together, believing that together they can endure whatever comes their way that threatens to overwhelm them.

Together they are stronger, together they are wiser, together they are better, and the love they share with one another, in the view of the prophet, it is like a bright and beautiful gem, it is a crown upon their heads or a beacon on a hill lighting up the night.

Listen to Isaiah and bear in mind, the prophet speaks from a position of wisdom and ignorance both, as do we all, knowing some things and not knowing others.

Isaiah speaks well of faith and hope but not of God’s activity in the world. There are other things expressed in the reading for the day than the hope Isaiah points to, He also speaks of his belief in that God, the creator of the universe has played a role in shaping the destiny of Israel, and by extension the world.

Know this:

God has made both us and the entire creation free. God does not coerce anything or anyone. God does not intervene in worldly affairs, either for our benefit, or to our detriment. We are free, as individuals and in the collective whole.

This is what our faith tells us to look to God for, to deliver us to a place of safety and joy, of love and rest, bring us to a place of wellbeing, not in this world, but the next.

God has promised to deliver us when we are done with this world, not now, but after.

Listen!

It is right to praise God; the creator of the universe. It is right and good.

It is right to treat our discourse concerning God with respect and honor; God is holy and our discourse should keep in mind the sacred nature of God’s blessed work, but it is wrong to think of God as a Lord.

Disregard the psalmist when he speaks in this way and remember, god has already judged the world, God has judged the entirety of the created order, god Judged it at the beginning while seeing the end, God judged it and proclaimed that it is good.

This is what our faith instructs us to believe.

God is not to be feared, but trusted.

Be mindful.

As a theist I will happily proclaim that there is only one God, I will tell you that the infinite can only be expressed by the numeral one, the infinite is one, one undivided, indivisible being.

There are no other God’s, but we should respect and strive to understand all of our language concerning the sacred, pertaining to the reality of the divine, from whatever culture or whatever nation it comes.

There is only one God, and none of us understand God perfectly. No one ever has.

Remember this:

God’s salvation is close.

Have no fear, the ministers of God are ministers of hope.

The glory of God does not come and go according to our deeds and merits. God is always present, God is present in all times and all places. God is with you now.

Believe it without fear.

God’s salvation reaches everyone, not because any of us deserve it, but simply because God loves all of us, every last one of us.

Be mindful.

God welcomes our participation in the work of the faithful, and there is much work to do. There is a role for everyone to play, both inside and outside the church, but mostly outside of it, with the people, with those feeling most alienated from the divine.

Everyone of us comes to that work with different gifts, different abilities and talents, we are called on to use them for the benefit of our brothers and sisters, for those who share the same faith and for those who do not.

Listen!

The reward for your faithful service is peace, it is peace in this life, and the knowledge that you have lived well, acted justly and done good.

Do not fear.

God has prepared you for eternity, but eternal life is not your reward. It is a gift of love that God has extended to you, simply for being you.

We are given the thoughts of Saint Peter to think, Peter who denied Jesus three time on the night he was arrested, Peter would have us believe that he follows Jesus because Jesus has the secret message that leads to eternal life,. He is thinking like one of the Gnostics here, as if there passcodes and secret ways that would lead a person upward on a journey through the heavens, until the come to the place of everlasting paradise.

Saint Peter puts this forward as if this were the purpose of the Gospel as if believing that Jesus is the “Holy One of God” is the key to receiving it the benefit he seeks.

This faith is born from fear, from a fear that God will not deliver on God’s promise, that God is not with us, and that our salvation is something God cannot manage without us.

Reject this fear.

The Gospel is this; it is simply this. God loves you, and you are saved.

You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn it, you are saved because God loves you. There is nothing more to it, there is nothing that you have to do, and the same is true for everyone.

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

The Gospel is this: God has already forgiven you. You are already saved you have been since the beginning, when God looked on creation and proclaimed that it was good.

God has prepared you, and everyone for eternal life. Believe it!

Let the goodness of the promise flow through you now, start living this life as if it were true.

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, the Holy One of God, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to one another other.

From the beginning, God chose all people to receive the sanctifying spirit, God created each person in the divine image, have placed within them a seed of the eternal Word. Through the Good News given to us by Jesus of Nazareth we learn to trust in the truth of that proclamation.

As people of the faith we have a duty to adhere to the truth. The spirit of God is the spirit of the truth, of truth shining in the darkness.

Consider the Gopel for the day, ask yourself this: Where is the truth in this myth?

Jesus was not magic.

God is not a miracle worker.

Read literally; this story is a lie. Jesus never turned water into wine. It is likely that the entire event never happened, that the entire thing is make believe.

There was no wedding at Cana.

Mary did not call on Jesus to work wonders. People did not follow Jesus because they saw him to wonderful tricks.

That is the truth behind this reading.

So what is happening here? This it is not a story of who Jesus was or what Jesus did, we are not called on to believe anything about those things based on this narrative. It is a story that tells us something of what people came to believe about Jesus a hundred or so years after he was killed.

It may be a story about Jesus and John the Baptist. It may be an apology of sorts; a defense of Jesus given to the followers of John, insofar as John came first, but John was the lesser of the two prophets of that era. The people might have expected the best to come first, like the wine at the wedding, but like the stories of the Patriarchs, the second son was favored more, and so Jesus came to surpass John.

It might be that, that would be a fair reading of the mythological trope. This is the best understanding. The Wedding of Cana is not a miracle story, it is a parable. It intends to convey a simple set of beliefs; Jesus did not come to carry the mantle of John, his work is not an extension of the former. Jesus came carrying the promise of the covenant.

He came with a different teaching altogether, and a radical departure from the prison of the law, he came to preach on a message of love, of service and humility in the furtherance of the good.


First Reading - Isaiah 62:1-5 ©

The Bridegroom Rejoices in His Bride

About Zion I will not be silent, about Jerusalem I will not grow weary, until her integrity shines out like the dawn and her salvation flames like a torch.

The nations then will see your integrity, all the kings your glory, and you will be called by a new name, one which the mouth of the Lord will confer.

You are to be a crown of splendour in the hand of the Lord, a princely diadem in the hand of your God; no longer are you to be named ‘Forsaken’, nor your land ‘Abandoned’, but you shall be called ‘My Delight’ and your land ‘The Wedded’; for the Lord takes delight in you and your land will have its wedding.

Like a young man marrying a virgin, so will the one who built you wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.


Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 95(96):1-3,7-10 ©

Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.

O sing a new song to the Lord,
  sing to the Lord all the earth.
  O sing to the Lord, bless his name.

Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.

Proclaim his help day by day,
  tell among the nations his glory
  and his wonders among all the peoples.

Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.

Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
  give the Lord glory and power;
  give the Lord the glory of his name.

Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.

Worship the Lord in his temple.
  O earth, tremble before him.
Proclaim to the nations: ‘God is king.’
  He will judge the peoples in fairness.

Proclaim the wonders of the Lord among all the peoples.


Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ©

The Spirit Distributes Gifts to Different People Just as He Chooses

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. One may have the gift of preaching with wisdom given him by the Spirit; another may have the gift of preaching instruction given him by the same Spirit; and another the gift of faith given by the same Spirit; another again the gift of healing, through this one Spirit; one, the power of miracles; another, prophecy; another the gift of recognising spirits; another the gift of tongues and another the ability to interpret them. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who distributes different gifts to different people just as he chooses.


Gospel Acclamation - 1saiah 3:9, and John 6:68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening:
you have the message of eternal life.

Alleluia!

Alternate Gospel Acclamation - 2 Thessalonians 2:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

Through the Good News God called us
to share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia!


Gospel - John 2:1-11 ©

'My Hour Has Not Come Yet' - 'Do Whatever He Tells You'

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.


2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


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