2nd Sunday of Ordinary time (20 January 2019)
Isa 62:1-5; 1 Cor 12;4-11; Jn 2:1-12
The readings, this week, are particularly appropriate to the time of the year. As we start a new year resolved to make positive changes in our lives, we are reminded that we are to look ahead to the promised restoration of God’s people: a time when Israel is adulterous and unfaithful no more but instead is restored as God’s faithful spouse. What can we do as we resolve to make this a reality in our lives?
The first reading is taken from the prophet Isaiah. There is a tension that underlies the passage as the prophet speaks of striving until Jerusalem is vindicated and shines forth. The message is evident: as much as there may be hardship now, it will pass and victory will ensue. The faithful are to persevere for that day for when it comes, God will delight in His people. The reading speaks to God’s people, Israel, but it has a direct relevance to each of us who are members of His family.
The unity of the people of God is the main theme of the second reading. St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians reminds each and every one of us that we are members of one body, unified in One Spirit. Each member of the Church has a particular gift; and no one member is sufficient or complete. And to each member, God has assigned a particular role and gift. It is up to us to fulfill God’s will for us and to use the gifts He has given us for the glory of His Name.
As we begin to see ourselves as part of the Body of Christ, the readings take on their real meaning. The day will surely come when the truth about our identity as the Body of Christ will become apparent to all. Until then, we may seem out of step with popular culture; and politically incorrect for our seeming intolerance of such things as divorce, abortion or same-sex marriages. But we are to strive in face of unpopularity or even opposition, certain in the knowledge that God’s word will be vindicated and on that day God will delight in those who have persevered.
This requires a committed transformation that can only be realized by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. This we learn from the Gospel passage about the wedding banquet at Cana. A wedding is an event of great significance and one can imagine the frenzy of the host when the wine ran short. Mary asks Jesus for help but His response is not immediately clear. Mary’s reaction is one of calm submission to the power of Jesus: Do whatever He tells you. Jesus then transforms the water into wine of the highest quality by His word and so “revealed His glory” (v11).
As we reflect on the challenges we can expect to face in our own faith journeys, we can rest in the knowledge that God is always near, watching over His people and awaiting their conversion. The way ahead for each of us is clear – we are to bring our cares and anxieties to Him and then do whatever He tells us; and to remember that when we are transformed by our submission to His will, we reveal His glory.
Some points for reflection as you read the passages:
- Is there any issue where your Christian viewpoint has put you at odds with your friends or colleagues? Have you felt threatened or uncomfortable as a result?
- How has being a member of the Church helped in your mission as a Christian? Are there times of strife in your faith journey when being a part of the community of Christ has enabled you to persevere?
- Is there any particular area in your life that you would like to change at the start of this year? How would such a change make you a better disciple of Christ?