Sunday, January 17, 2016

Jan. 17, 2016: 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time C

Jan. 17, 2016: 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time C

Click to hear Audio Homily
A few years ago, I had the privilege of leading a pilgrimage through Israel. One of the sacred locations is Cana where there stands a church at the spot believed to be the location of the miracle we read in today’s Gospel. Pilgrims flock to the Church at Cana to renew their marital vows or to get married, but they miss out on the true mystery and grace of Cana. The two mysteries are described in the two scripture passages from today’s Gospel:
Do whatever he tells you. (John 2:5)
And the disciples began to believe in him. (John 2:11)

Do whatever he tells you.
Though we may not be aware, all of us are being guided by the gentle, reassuring voice of our Blessed Mother. It’s true that some of us have a strong devotion to her. Others believe that a devotion to Blessed Mother distracts from the worship of Jesus. Our devotion to Blessed Mother should lead us to the heart of Jesus and to a deeper desire to follow him. Just as Blessed Mother at the Annunciation trusted in the will of God, she shows us in Cana that she is a model disciple. She turned to Jesus when something went wrong, and she believed that Jesus would take care of the situation. Do we also turn to Jesus in our struggles and believe that he will guide us through the situation?

And the disciples began to believe in him.
We are fascinated, and perhaps distracted, by the miracle of water transformed into wine and miss the real transformation, that is, what happened in the hearts of the disciples. Ordinary people became believers. When we encounter Jesus, experience the abundance of his love, know how much he delights in us, and realize how he rejoices in us, then we are transformed into believers--people who believe in the possibilities of love and mercy.

Last week we celebrated the baptism of Our Lord. Although we may not remember the actual day of our baptism, we know that our journey began when we were baptized in our faith, surrounded by our family and friends. It is our responsibility to lead our lives in such a way that others are inspired to know our Lord. As St. Francis beautifully said that “the deeds that you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.”

In this new year, how can we consciously strive to be the sign that points to Christ? How can we strive to be disciples of Jesus who believe and trust in what Jesus will accomplish through us? Perhaps the best roadmap for discipleship is described by Blessed Mother Teresa:

The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.

Our discipleship with God needs to be clothed in humility and silence rather than in doctrinal purity, bible thumping, and self-promotion of our own holiness. We must remember that the Church is not an exclusive holy club; rather, we are sinners who fall daily, but by the grace of God are redeemed and called to holiness. Our discipleship with God should reveal itself in our gratefulness to Christ; people should notice the joy of Christ in us. Pope Francis said, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.” When Jesus enters our lives, there is a new quality about our lives which is like turning water into wine; what was drab and uninteresting becomes vivid and sparkling. May every day begin with silence and prayer. Encounter Jesus in the silence and receive the grace to live our lives as instruments of peace to others.

-Fr. Paul Yi