Friday, January 18, 2019

Do whatever He tells you (Gayle Somers)

  There was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there…

  So, why was Mary, so absorbed in the details of the wedding, moved to expect a miracle from Jesus to solve this problem?  Mary, as the new Eve, prompted her Son to fulfill His vocation in this richly meaningful wedding setting… Jesus performs the miracle, transforming the water into the best wine.  To make this possible, the servants had to listen to Mary’s directive:  Do whatever He tells you.

  These are Mary’s last words in the Gospel.  They continue to ring out over the centuries to all of us who discover that our lives have no wine – that we are living on the water of sin, meaninglessness, and fear.  The Bridegroom has come to transform all this. We simply need to do whatever He tells us.

--Gayle Somers, Scripture Speaks

Image source:  Gallego Fernando, The Changing of the Water into Wine (ca. 1480-88), University of Arizona Museum of Art, 
Quotation source

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sunday Gospel Reflection, January 20, 2019: There was a wedding in Cana at Galilee...

What does our relationship with God call us to?

  In John’s Gospel, Jesus performs his first miracle (albeit reluctantly) at a wedding at Cana in Galilee, at the request of his mother, who simply states, They have no wine.  No one wants a new marriage to be marred by difficulty from day one, and so Jesus does the extraordinary:  Fill the jars with water, he tells the servers, and then, Draw some out.  The wine the headwaiter tastes is of the highest quality, a fitting tribute to the bond of souls the wedding is intended to celebrate, and a good reason to sing to the Lord, as Psalm 96 exhorts, to proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations. The miracle at Cana is a foretaste of the messianic banquet, of our ultimate union with God in heaven – and a revelation of God’s glory.

  Jesus’ marvelous deed at the wedding in Cana reminds us of the centrality of the marriage metaphor in salvation history, wherein God calls the people of Israel by a new name to celebrate a return to covenant relationship:  you shall be called My Delight and your land Espoused, Isaiah says.  It is as a marriage bond that Isaiah characterizes the relationship between God and Jerusalem, a relationship in which God shall rejoice, for it is grounded in love shared, love celebrated.

  Moreover, it is out of that bond of relationship that the Holy Spirit is able to bestow upon us all, as St. Paul tells the Corinthians, different kinds of spiritual gifts, gifts we are meant to employ to be of benefit for each other.  Remember that we are called as a church to be the Bride of Christ; Jesus loves us as a bridegroom loves his bride.  And the love he shares with us, if we are open to it, opens us further to giving in turn, using our gifts to build up each other’s lives, yet recognizing at every moment that it is God who produces all of these gifts – manifestations of the Spirit – in everyone.  It is yet another reason to proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations, as we are invited to participate in God’s extraordinary action and so embrace the identity that is ours, an identity grounded in service and love.

This post is based on notes from Fr. Pat’s 2016 homily on the readings for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Image source:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Out you stepped onto new ground (John O'Donohue)

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

--John O’Donohue, 
For a New Beginning

Image source:  Tribute to Marcel AymĂ©, Montmartre, Paris,