January 21, 2019 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Deacon Steve Whiteman

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
 Reading 1 IS 62:1-5

 Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10 

  1. (3) Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Reading 2 1 COR 12:4-11

Alleluia CF. 2 THES 2:14

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 2:1-11 

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel we hear the familiar story of the wedding feast at Cana. This story was really brought to life as I read my Gospel commentary books. They described the wedding traditions at that time. In Palestine, a wedding was special event. Jewish law required that the wedding take place on Wednesday and the festivities lasted several days. The wedding ceremony took place late in the evening after a feast. After the ceremony, the young couple was taken to their home through the village streets. A procession of people with torches escorted them on a long route through the town so as many people as possible could wish them well.

The newly married couple did not go away for a honeymoon. They stayed at home for a week and kept an open house. They wore crowns and dressed in their bridal robes. They were treated like a king and queen and during that week their word was law. In a life where there was so much poverty and hard work, this week of festivities was a joyful way for a couple to start their life together and share that joy with the whole village.

To help put the story into context it’s helpful to understand that hospitality in the Middle East is a sacred duty. Running out of wine at the wedding feast would have been a public humiliation for the new bride and groom. Fortunately Jesus and Mary had been invited to the wedding and this embarrassment was avoided.

Consider, if you will, the role that Mary has in our Gospel story today and how this relates to our everyday lives. Many scholars believe that Mary was involved in planning the wedding festivities and may have been related to the bridegroom. When the wine ran out she responded with sympathy and compassion. As a model disciple, she turned to her Son, Jesus in this time of need. Her intercession with Jesus for the bride and groom in our Gospel story today is the same role that she plays in our own lives.

Mary’s faith in Jesus is unwavering. Even though it seems unclear in the beginning what Jesus may do to help, she is confident the situation will be resolved according to God’s plan.

Her faith shown in today’s Gospel story may remind us of the Annunciation when she was visited by the angel Gabriel and was told she would conceive a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. Without knowing all the details, she agreed to be part of the plan…the handmaid of the Lord.

Mary puts her courageous faith into action by instructing the servants to: "Do whatever He tells you." She may not know what will happen next, but she does have faith that Jesus will make everything work out.

There is a lot of theological meaning in the Gospel story today, but this last statement from Mary is crystal clear. It was clear for the servants at the wedding feast and should be just as clear for us 2000 years later. We should always be listening and open to whatever Jesus is telling us to do.

We have heard about Mary’s role during the wedding feast at Cana but let’s reflect for a moment on her role inOUR daily life.

As a young woman Mary took an incredible leap of faith when she agreed to be the mother of Jesus. When our trust in God is wavering, let us ask Mary to inspire us by her great example of faith.

As a mother, Mary endured many hardships and sorrows. When baby Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon told her she would be pierced by a sword. When we are struggling or find ourselves helpless while watching others suffer, let us ask Mary to comfort us with the hope she had in eternal life through her Son.

In ancient times, a king usually had many wives. To avoid a potential power struggle among the wives, the role of queen was often served by the king’s mother. A notable example of this was King David’s son Solomon. When Solomon was king, his mother Bathsheba took on the role as queen mother. The special relationship between a mother and her son gives the queen a unique role for helping others by interceding with the king on their behalf.

This may sound familiar because this is the same intercessory role we saw Mary play in our Gospel today. When Mary was crowned Queen Mother in heaven she plays this role for us too.

If we find ourselves or others struggling with suffering or hardship, let us not fall into despair. If we find that we have no joy in our life let us turn to Mary, the Queen Mother with our problems. Let us ask her to intercede with her Son the King and inspire us with a faith to do whatever He tells us.