Archive for the ‘Wedding of Cana’ Category

Mary’s Advice — 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year C

March 3, 2013

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the greatest woman who has ever lived. She is the mother of God, but also our mother, our sister, and our friend. Mary is so easy for us to love because she is so lovable and she loves us a lot. God loves Mary even more than we do and, like a man in love, he speaks about her throughout the Bible, from the beginning to the end.

In Genesis, God speaks of Mary when he says to the serpent-devil, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” And in the book of Revelation, ‘A great sign appears in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She gives birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations….’

In our first reading today, when the Lord professes his love for Mount Zion and the city of Jerusalem, he is speaking about the people symbolized by these places.  First among these is Mary, the virgin and bride, in whom God, the builder and bridegroom, rejoices.

Maybe you will be surprised to learn that, despite her great importance, Mary speaks on only four occasions in all the Scriptures. (Her husband, St. Joseph, utters no words at all, and so we imagine him as being a quiet man.) Mary speaks at the Annunciation, at the Visitation, upon the Finding of the Boy Jesus in the Temple, and at today’s Wedding Feast of Cana.

Mary’s words are few, but powerful. For instance, today we hear the profound last words that Mary speaks in the Bible. Mary says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” That’s good advice for Christians in every age. “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” This has essentially been Our Lady’s message to us at every Marian apparition throughout the centuries since then. Mary never tells us anything different from the Gospel’s message, but encourages, or gravely reminds us: “Do whatever he tells you.”

This is not only Mary’s message, but also the way she lived and lives her life. At the Annunciation, when Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word,” she was essentially saying, ‘Lord, I want to do whatever you say.’ When Mary gave the servants her instruction she did not know what Jesus was going to do, it seemed like he might do nothing, but she trusted in him. She trusted that whatever the Lord wished would truly be best.

Mary wants us to have this attitude our lives too; to trust in his care when unexpected problems arise; to trust him when we are burdened by carrying the heavy waters of our duty. Jesus’ plans may not be what we would prefer but they will always be the best. Jesus transformed Cana’s water into wine. Mary says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Listen to Mary and see what he transforms in your life.

La Santísima Virgen María es la mujer más grande que jamás haya vivido. Ella es la madre de Dios, sino también nuestra madre, nuestra hermana y nuestra amiga. María es tan fácil que nos encanta, porque es digno de ser amado y nos ama mucho. Dios ama a María incluso más que nosotros y, como un hombre enamorado, habla de ella a través de la Biblia, desde el principio hasta el final.

En el Génesis, Dios habla de María cuando le dice a la serpiente-demonio, “Y pondré enemistad entre ti y la mujer, y entre tu descendencia y la suya.” Y en el libro de Apocalipsis, ‘aparecia entonces en el cielo una figura prodigiosa: una mujer envuelta por el sol, con la luna bajo sus pies y con una corona de doce estrellas en la cabeza…. La mujer da a luz un hijo varón, destinado a gobernar todas las naciones….’

En nuestra primera lectura de hoy, cuando el Señor le declara su amor por el monte de Sión y la ciudad de Jerusalén, está hablando acerca de la gente simbolizados por estos lugares. La primera de ellas es María, la doncella y la esposa, en quien Dios se alegra.

Tal vez usted se sorprenderá al saber que, a pesar de su gran importancia, Mary habla en sólo cuatro ocasiones en todas las Escrituras. (Su esposo, San José, pronuncia ninguna palabra en absolute, y así nos imaginamos a José como un hombre tranquilo.) Ella habla en la Anunciación, en la Visitación, en el hallazgo del Niño Jesús en el Templo, y en la banquete de la boda de Caná de hoy.

Las palabras de María son pocas, pero poderosas. Por ejemplo, hoy oímos las palabras últimas María habla en la Biblia. María dice a los servían: “Hagan lo que Él les diga.” Es un buen consejo para los cristianos de todas las épocas. “Hagan lo que Jesús les diga.” Esto ha sido esencialmente el mensaje de Nuestra Señora a nosotros en cada aparición mariana a través de los siglos desde entonces. Ella nunca nos dice nada diferente que el mensaje del Evangelio, sino que alienta o gravemente nos recuerda: “Haced lo que Él os diga.”

Esto no es sólo María mensaje, sino también la forma en que vivió y vive su vida. En la Anunciación, cuando María dijo: ” Yo soy esclava del Señor, que Dios haga conmigo cono me has dicho,” fue básicamente diciendo: “Señor, quiero hacer lo que dice.” Cuando María dio a los criados su instrucción, María no sabía que Jesús iba a hacer, parecía como si fuera a hacer nada, pero ella confiaba en él. Confía en que cualquier cosa que el Señor ha querido realmente sería lo mejor.

María quiere que tengamos esta actitud en nuestra vida también, a confiar en el cuidado de Jesús cuando se producen problemas, confiar en Jesús cuando estamos agobiados por llevar las aguas pesadas de nuestros deberes. Los planes de Jesús no puede ser lo que nosotros preferiríamos, pero siempre será mejor. Jesús transformó el agua en vino de Caná. María dice, “Haced lo que Él os diga.” Escuche a María y ver lo que se transforma en su vida.


Wine and Drunkenness — Tuesday, 5th Week of Ordinary Time—Year I

February 8, 2011

“God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. … Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.”

Everything that God has made is good, but anything can be misused or abused in ways that are wrong. A volleyball-sized amount of Uranium can provide electrical power to 200 U.S. homes for a year, but it can also be used in a single bomb to level a city like Hiroshima. The complimentarily of man and woman is very good.  They were made for each other, but they sometimes use each other in painful and unloving ways.

What about alcohol in its many forms? Is it good or bad? On the one hand, the Scriptures praise God for it as a gift: “You bring bread from the earth, and wine to gladden our hearts.” (Psalm 104:14-15) Yet throughout, the Scriptures also caution about the sin of drunkenness: “…Do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, [instead] be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) You’ll recall that Jesus provided wine for the wedding feast of Cana, yet He would not be pleased if the guests used His gift for getting trashed.  If we are adults we may only drink alcohol in moderation, and if we are still minors we may only consume it under our parents’ direct supervision. Anything else is misuse, abuse, immoral and dangerous.

But what about illegal or recreational drugs? Can they be used in moderation? No, there is no moderation in this, for the entire goal of using them is to get high, to become intoxicated. If you have never abused drugs or alcohol, I hope you never start; and if you have, I hope you never will again.

Please do not dismiss this teaching as merely the tradition of your elders; for it is God’s command that we should never get drunk or high. God forbids it, just as every good parent forbids it of their children, because getting intoxicated is harmful and dangerous for us. The Scriptures say, “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “Whoever curses father or mother shall die.” Indeed, those who spurn their parents in this can taste sin and death in many forms.

When you’re intoxicated you make dumb decisions. (I don’t know about you, but I already make enough dumb mistakes in a day as it is.) Someone who is drunk or high will do impulsive, stupid things that they would never do otherwise. You lose control of yourself and become vulnerable to others. I don’t want any of you to wake up a morning after, regretting some serious thing done the night before. I don’t want any young woman here to find herself with child, and be tempted to do something terrible.

Imagine which experience would be worse as a consequence of getting intoxicated? To die alone from driving your car off a road into a tree, or to survive a head-on collision that kills a stranger or a friend? Go too far just once and alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose can have you pass out and never wake up again, put you in a coma or make you drown in your own vomit.

Or consider the risk and costs of addiction. Any recovering alcoholic can tell you a story about how much addiction costs, and any smoker can tell you how hard additions are to break. Of course, not everyone who gets drunk or high will become an addict, but some will, and after the first use of certain drugs, addiction is all but certain. With addiction, even if drug or alcohol abuse never sends you to prison, it can still cost you your freedom. And even if drug use never takes your life, it can cost lives of people far away.

Did you know that since 2007 there have been over 35,000 deaths in Mexico from the violence of their organized crime drug cartels? That’s almost ten times the number of American troops who have died in combat since 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why so much violence? It’s because the Mexican drug cartels make more than one hundred billion dollars a year from selling marijuana and other drugs to Americans, and they will murder or assassinate whoever stands up to them. When we buy their drugs, we’re supporting their terror.

Today I set before you life and death; choose life. If you have never abused drugs or alcohol, I hope you never start; and if you have, I hope you never do again. May no one ever say of Columbus Dons as Jesus said of the Pharisees: their hands are clean in public and ‘they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’

Fatima Rosary Reflections

May 31, 2010

We celebrate May as the month of Mary, but we gather this particular day because 93 years ago Mary appeared to three children outside a small village in Portugal named Fatima. We will now pray the rosary and I will share with you just some of this story of Mary, Our Lady of Fatima.

[Pray the usual introductory Rosary Prayers]

In the year before Mary appeared to them, Lucia age 10, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, ages eight and seven, were grazing their sheep in a field. A dazzlingly beautiful young man, seemingly made of light, appeared to them and identified himself as the Angel of Peace. He invited them to pray with Him, and taught them a simple prayer.  I will pray this prayer three times and I invite you to join with me.

“My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love You! I beg pardon for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love You. Amen.”

In the 1st Luminous Mystery we encounter “Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan.” Jesus was not a sinner, He did not need baptism for himself, but He was baptized to become an advocate and intercessor for others. Likewise, let us pray as advocates and intercessors for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not trust, or do not love God throughout the world.

[Pray the First Luminous Mystery]

On another occasion, the Angel of Peace appeared before them holding a chalice in his hands. Above it was suspended a host from which drops of blood were falling into the chalice. The Angel left the chalice suspended in the air, prostrated himself before it, and taught the children this prayer:

“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.”

In the 2nd Luminous Mystery we encounter “Jesus’ Miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana.” For them, Jesus changed water into wine. For us, He changes wine into His blood. Are we indifferent to this miracle in our midst, or does it really matter to us? Let us pray that the Eucharist would transform us.

[Pray the Second Luminous Mystery]

On May 13, 1917, after lunch on a clear blue day, the children were praying the rosary. Suddenly, they saw two bright flashes. They looked up and saw, in Lucia’s words, “a lady, clothed in white, brighter than the sun…”

The Lady smiled and said: “Do not be afraid, I will not harm you.” Lucia asked her where she came from. The Lady pointed to the sky and said: “I come from heaven.” Lucia asked what she wanted. She said, “I have come to ask you to come here for six months on the 13th day of the month, at this same hour.” They tried to keep it to themselves, word of the children’s encounter with the Heavenly Lady got out. Though they were met with the townspeople’s skepticism and mockery, the children would not deny what they had seen and heard.

In the 3rd Luminous Mystery we encounter “Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God.” Let us pray to be irresistibly led to proclaim what we have experienced in Christ.

[Pray the Third Luminous Mystery]

On July 13th, the incredibly beautiful Lady appeared to them again. Lucia asked her who she was, and for a miracle so everyone would believe. She answered, “Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.” And the Lady taught them this prayer:

“Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven,  especially those in most need of Thy Mercy.”

In the 4th Luminous Mystery we encounter “Jesus’ Transfiguration.” Sometimes we look at other people and think that they can’t change what they are. The apostles thought like this, but Jesus opened their eyes with His Transfiguration. Let us pray for the grace of transformation; in our family members, in our friends, and especially among those in most need of God’s Mercy.

[Pray the Fourth Luminous Mystery]

At noon on the 13th of October, 1917, some 70,000 people were gathered in the field. With a flash of light the Lady appeared to the children, and Lucia, for the last time, asked her what she wanted. The Lady answered, “I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes.” And the Blessed Virgin Mary urged the conversion of hearts, as she had many times before, “Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.”

What happened next was reported at the time in an anti-religious Portuguese newspaper, by a reporter who had previously written dismissively about the goings-on at Fatima:

“…One could see the immense multitude turn towards the sun, which appeared free from clouds and at its zenith. It looked like a plaque of dull silver and it was possible to look at it without the least discomfort. It might have been an eclipse which was taking place. But at that moment a great shout went up and one could hear the spectators nearest at hand shouting: “A miracle! A miracle!” Before the astonished eyes of the crowd… the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun “danced” according to the typical expression of the people.”

In the 5th Luminous Mystery we encounter “Jesus’ Institution of the Eucharist.” What the masses saw in the heavens that day was a great miracle. But what we encounter at every Mass is an even greater wonder. Let us pray that we would always have the eyes to see it.

[Pray the Fifth Luminous Mystery, followed by the usual closing Rosary Prayers]

(Primary Source)

Carrying Water — 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year C

January 20, 2010

Today’s Gospel, the miracle at the wedding fest of Cana, is a scene rich in symbolism and has many preachable parts. For example, the water of Old Covenant law is changed into New Covenant wine. It is the seventh day in John’s Gospel, according to the narration, pointing to a new Creation and rest. And the New Adam and the New Eve are at a wedding feast together, foreshadowing the marriage of Christ and His Church. But this morning, I would like to bring your attention to an extraordinary part of this Gospel which we disregard as being ordinary. I’m referring to the six stone water jars and the servers who carried them.

“Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ So they filled them to the brim.”

You’ve carried a gallon of milk before.   Imagine carrying 25 gallons of milk. I doubt you could do it all at once. Not only would they be too bulky, they would be awfully heavy too. Maybe you could put them on a pole and carry them with a partner. Maybe that’s what the servers in the Gospel had to do, or maybe they were doing laps between the well of Cana and the stone jars at the party. In either case, they we’re hauling an awful lot of water and weight.

Now a gallon of water weighs a little more than eight pounds. If each jar in the Gospel was at least 40 pounds of stone and held 20 to 30 gallons, then we are talking about six filled jars weighing 200 to 300 pounds apiece. And we know they were completely filled, for Mary had told them, “Do whatever he tells you,” and Jesus had told them, “Fill the jars with water.” “So they filled them to the brim.”

The saying “To carry water for (someone)” means to do a menial or difficult task for others.  That’s what these servers were doing and they definitely felt the burden.  Did they have any idea, as they carried those 1,500 pounds of stone and water, that they were a part of something remarkable? Did they know that they were playing an intimate role in one of Jesus’ most memorable miracles? No, they had no idea, not until later, and this reflects a encouraging truth for us to hold onto this week. We often don’t realize the extraordinary impact of our ordinary sacrifices.

You may feel burdened in your life, like your just scrapping or limping along; at work, at school, or at home; with your peers, your friends, or your family. But you do more good than you know. Sometimes we catch glimpses of this, like when someone takes your hand and says, “Thank you sooo much,” or when someone shares with you that they have always looked up to you, or when a child grows to realize and thank you for everything you did for them. After this life, one of our joys in heaven will be seeing how our ordinary sacrifices have touched and changed the lives of thousands, even millions, of people.

Like the servers with their six stone jars, we disregard our efforts as ordinary and do not realize their extraordinary impact. Maybe you don’t see it now, but your ordinary sacrifices do more good than you know. Let us be encouraged by recalling this truth in our daily lives, for if you’re carrying water for Jesus, you’re going to have a part in His miracles. So, “do whatever He tells you,” no matter how ordinary it may seem.