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Thursday, 13 January 2022 11:40

Celebrating At Home - 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The true bridegroom (John 2: 1-11)

Weddings are usually wonderful occasions. Family and friends come together to witness to and celebrate a couples’ love and commitment. The ritual is crowned with singing, dancing, eating and drinking. It has been so for centuries. In Jewish tradition a wedding could last for days, not hours.

It’s interesting that, in John’s Gospel, Jesus begins his ministry in the warm and homely setting of a village wedding in the same region in which Jesus had grown up. Mary, Jesus and his disciples have been invited.

Disaster strikes when the wine runs out. It’s not hard to imagine how acutely embarrassing and humiliating that would have been for the wedding couple and their families. From then on the wedding would have been remembered as, ‘the one when the wine ran out’.

Mary sees what has happened and mentions it to Jesus but he seems reluctant to do anything about it: ‘My hour,’ he says, ‘has not come yet.’ In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ hour will come on the cross, when he will reveal God as God truly is, through the sacrifice of divine love for the world.

Mary is not put off by Jesus’ reply. Perhaps she knows her Son better than he does himself at this point. ‘Do whatever he tells you,’ she says to the servants.

Even though his time had not yet come, Jesus acts with kindness and compassion, saving the couple from acute embarrassment and ensuring that the wedding celebration can continue with plenty of ‘the best wine’.

In telling this story, John is drawing on Old Testament themes which picture God as the ‘bridegroom’ of Israel. The bond of love between God and Israel was meant to be deep and enduring - like a marriage. Such themes led to the expectation that the promised Messiah would restore this relationship.

In Jewish tradition it was the bridegroom’s responsibility to provide the wine for the wedding.

In John’s story it is Jesus who ends up providing an abundance of the best wine, revealing Jesus as the divine bridegroom, come to take Israel back as bride.

At the end of this Gospel passage, John tells us that Jesus’ action in turning the water into wine was the first of the signs he gave. In John’s Gospel there will be six more. All of them to do with healing, saving, restoring, feeding and giving life to human beings.

None are empty displays of Jesus’ power. The ‘glory’ of Jesus lies in revealing the God of love, especially in moments of real human need. The signs show that the power of love which comes from God is always at the service of human beings.

We, too, are called to allow the glory of God to shine out through us in loving, healing, transforming words and actions.

This resource is presented by the Carmelites of Australia & Timor-Leste at a time when many cannot gather together as we usually do to celebrate the Eucharist. We are conscious that Christ is present not only in the Blessed Sacrament but also in the Scriptures and in our hearts. Even when we are on our own we remain part of the Body of Christ. 

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

 This text is arranged with parts for a leader and for all to pray, but the leader’s parts can be shared among those present.

As you use this prayer know that the Carmelites will be remembering in our prayer all the members of our family at this time.

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