Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the midst of our country’s challenges in the aftermath of an insurrection and with a Congress that is at an impasse and at war with each other, how do I have hope?
In the midst of extreme racial injustice, how do I maintain trust that we are moving in a promising direction?
In the midst of a climate crisis, how do I deal with my fear for the next generation?
My response has much to do with the lens and backdrop I am using to view these challenges. I believe our country is based on the justice and equality as expressed in the Constitution, although not always lived out. I believe that the beliefs and courage of Martin Luther King, Jr. and of movements such as Black Lives Matter are the Spirit of God moving us forward. Forums like the Paris Agreement and Pope Francis’ organization around “Laudato Si”, his encyclical on the environment, are rallying people all over the globe to awareness and action. These are the lens and the backdrop which permeate the challenges and motivates and empowers change and transformation.
The readings of today speak to the truth that the Kin__dom of God - the Reign of God-is the lens and the backdrop to the reality of today- a redeemed reality.
The Gospel tells the story of a wedding where Jesus, with the intervention of Mary, in Faith, and others in action, changes water into wine. This was a wedding party in an embarrassing moment. They ran out of wine. We are told that Jesus “revealed his glory”. This Glory is the promise of our God made visible in our reality. This is the reign of God breaking through. The Kin__dom of God is always there as a backdrop to our life. It needs to be given the opportunity to break through. We are called in this reading to be like the disciples and “believe in him”. We are thus enabled to continue the work toward what we see and hear.
The second reading is also filled with these breakthroughs of the Kin__dom. By the power of the Spirit we are promised Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Mighty deeds, Prophecy; Discernment of spirits; Variety and interpretation of tongues. This is the backdrop to the challenges that we face in our time. We can have hope because God empowers us and gives us the vision for the Reign of God.
This envisioning and empowering is not for ourselves alone.
The fresh wine is for the community gathered to celebrate.
The Gifts of the Spirit are for the transformation of the Community of Faith.
The responsorial psalm is sung: “Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations…and tell his glory among the nations.”
As a Pastoral Care Counselor for a Home Health Care Agency, patients show me the backdrops that they hold onto in order to deal with their challenges.
One woman, in her eighties and always in pain, reminds me all the time how her mother had herself and her numerous siblings receive their Sacraments. In her recall, is she not saying that she is in Communion with God, which is the lens that she views her life, as difficult as it is?
The daughter of Peter shows me, as she is going through her fathers’ dying process, that, as she knows the goodness of God, she is passing that goodness to her father in his time of great need.
In my work in the Justice Committee with the climate crisis we are brought to see Nature and truly stop for a moment and see more. In awe, upon reflection, don’t we see God? Or within the beauty of Music and Art, are these not breakthrough moments where the glory of God is revealed, again and again? Is this not something like water into wine, moments of joy in the awesomeness before us?
Even though these are very, very trying times as a world, as a country, as a church, as individuals, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Glory of God. Mary was the instrument for the breakthrough in the Gospel today. This flowed from all that she “treasured in her heart”. What do we treasure in our hearts that serves as a backdrop for our life in a world so in need of God’s Saving Presence? We pray that this presence will be a source of transformation. We do our best and let God do the rest!
Sr. Jo-Anne Faillace, OP