First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Gospel: John 2:1-11
THEME: THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BEAUTIFY AND CELEBRATE YOU THIS YEAR 2022
A joyful celebration is one of the activities or phenomena that many people always long to experience in life. This is because, most times, it enhances conviviality and harmony among them, which also tend to increase their sense of well-being, regardless of socio-economic factors. Moreover, some people celebrate their anniversaries, memorials, feasts, or achievements regularly, while others who have been passing through moments of excruciating challenges, sufferings, disappointments, etc., but hopeful for the day of restoration and breakthrough, yearn for such joyous opportunities when the chapter of their own life will be opened.
In the First Reading, through Prophet Isaiah God gave a message of hope and consolation to all those (God’s Children) who have been passing through moments of excruciating challenges, and promised to restore their land to glory: “… for your sake I will not rest, until your vindication shines out like the dawn, and your salvation like a burning torch…; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married” (Isaiah 62:1-4).
This promise of glorious restoration came to limelight in today’s Gospel, when Jesus Christ performed His first miracle at Cana after His Baptism by turning water into wine. Meanwhile, when her mother, Blessed Virgin Mary, noticed that the wine of the celebrants had finished, she interceded immediately: “They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:3-5).
Since the hour of His supreme self-manifestation had not yet come, Jesus Christ was reluctant to manifest His power. But, because of the loving compulsion of His mother, He consented to her plea in order to save the couple from unnecessary embarrassment. It would have been a great shame for the couple and for the family to send the guests away without wine, since in Palestine, any marriage feast without wine is no marriage feast at all. Meanwhile, the old wine which had finished symbolizes the Old Law (excruciating moments) and the new wine symbolizes the abundance of the grace that comes through Jesus Christ (joyous moments).
Moreover, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary shows her solicitude for human beings in their moments of challenges and needs. Out of loving concern for human beings, she brings their needs and predicaments within the radius of Christ’s saving power. This gesture is a mysterious indication of her unique maternal role in the entire economy of Christian grace; that she can never abandon her children in time of difficulties. As a mother, she places herself between her Son and humanity in the reality of their sufferings and needs. This implies that the presence of Jesus Christ and Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives will always engender divine favour, peace and joyous celebrations, and also save us from shame.
In the Second Reading, St. Paul reminds us that: “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). So, by the virtue of our Baptism, we have become children of God and members of the Church (Christ’s Bride), who have been nourished with Spiritual gifts, and commissioned to radiate joy of the Holy Spirit in the world, through our God-given gifts or talents. For Christianity is all about bringing joy and happiness into people’s lives. That is, touching the lives of people positively so as to alleviate their sufferings, in such a way that through our actions, people may always have reasons to celebrate joyfully to the glory of God.
Finally, after the Baptism of Jesus Christ, He began His public ministry (Salvific work) by bringing joy and happiness in the lives of the couple in a wedding feast at Cana, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her mother.
Therefore, let us always do the following:
- To always listen to the voice of God through the scriptures and obey His commands, just as the Blessed Virgin Mary said: “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
- To emulate Jesus’ actions by using our gifts or talents for the common good.
- To always seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives especially when we are in difficulties by praying our Rosary daily. For Jesus Christ will never refuse any request made by her mother.
- To always emulate Mary’s compassionate and intercessory Spirit by showing people our concerns especially when they are in difficulties, and always pray for them.
- To always touch the lives of people positively by showing them real love. For whenever people glorify God because of the kindness and true love we have shown to them, the Holy Spirit who empowered us to bring joy and happiness into their lives, will continue to beautify, sanctify and celebrate us.
Therefore, I pray that the Almighty God, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, may deliver you and your entire family from excruciating experiences and shame, and grant you all divine restoration, breakthrough, open door, mega blessings and spiritual upliftment, so that you may always have moments of joyous celebrations all the days of your lives in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen!!!
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.