Date: Sunday, January 20, 2019
2nd Sunday Ordinary Time C
Three Sundays and three epiphanies in a row: Magi from the East, the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding Feast at Cana when Jesus changes water into wine. In the Gospel according to St. John, the public ministry of Jesus begins at a wedding feast when the Mother of Jesus tells her son: “They have no wine.” This is significant. Weddings go on for days as families, neighbors and villages come together to celebrate. Marriage reminds the Jewish people of their covenant with God that Isaiah speaks of as being espoused “as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”
The Mother of Jesus sets a good example for his disciples. She brings a concern to Jesus as we do often in prayer. She listens carefully to the words of Jesus: “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus is placing her petition in the context of God’s plan, of God’s will. How does it fit in? She replies not to Jesus but to the servers: “Do whatever he tells you.” We see a pattern for our petitionary prayer: bring our request to the Lord; listen to Jesus; try to discern the plan of God; and then listen to what Jesus tells us to do. Do we really expect God to answer our prayer if we are not willing to listen and to lend a hand?
This “sign” that begins the Gospel sheds light on verses near the end with Jesus dying on the cross. “The hour” of Jesus comes at his passion. When Jesus sees his mother and the disciple he loves, he says: “Woman, behold your son” and then to the disciple: “Behold your mother.” Jesus then says: “I thirst.” They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus takes the wine, he says: “It is finished.” Jesus bows his head and hands over the spirit. The side of Jesus is pierced and blood and water flow out.
The deeper meaning is clear. Jesus is imparting his spirit and bequeathing his very life to the beloved community at the cross. The wedding feast prefigures “the hour” of his return to the Father and his coming/abiding with us in Spirit and in sacramental life of the Church. “Mother” Teresa of Calcutta had the words of Jesus: “I thirst” inscribed in the chapel where the missionary sisters gathered for worship and Eucharist. “I thirst” are the words of Jesus and of humanity longing for God’s love.