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June 20, 2018

Doing Whatever He Tells Us

Pastors corner with Fr Henry Ibe
Swift Share!

Today we hear Mary’s very last words in Scripture: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). By this statement, we are invited to submit to Christ in all aspects of our life. Before issuing this command, Mary had already said to her Son: “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Her maternal intercession always covers all our needs even before we present them to the Lord. As she intervened on behalf of the newly married couple at Cana, so Mary (our Advocate) continues to make heavenly intercessions for the needs of her children here on earth. By telling Jesus: “They have no wine,” Mary is expecting a miraculous solution, since Jesus had no wine reserves anywhere. Her faith in her Son pays off as Jesus, recognizing his Mother’s faith and courage, tells the attendants to fill jars with water. They did as told and the wine supply was miraculously replenished. Thus, their obedience also helped to secure the miracle. Mary’s command to do whatever her Son tells us parallels the command given by Pharaoh to the Egyptians who cried out to him for food: “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you” (Gen. 41:55). Just as Joseph provided food in plenty to the Egyptians in a time of famine, so Jesus provides wine in plenty for the guests at a time of great need.

So what is Jesus asking us to do? In the Gospel passage today, he directed the attendants to, “fill the jars with water.” The jars symbolize us while the water represents the Word of God and the Sacraments. When we let ourselves be filled with these, we get transformed into sweet-smelling offerings in the hands of the Lord; we become the choice “wine” of God’s grace and power. This is at the heart of St Paul’s saying that, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; and everything has become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

This transformation is what Isaiah envisions in the First Reading of a New Jerusalem whose, “integrity shines out like the dawn and her salvation flames out like a torch”. That is an image of the Church. God’s desire is that all his children be filled with divine life. Our God, “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The divine plan is that united with each other, we would become as intimate with Jesus as a bride with her husband. Just as Jesus changed the water into wine, so too does he want to transform us from a disunited group of individuals into one holy people, members of the household of God, whose garments have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

As the Lord provided wine in abundance to the wedding party, so he has given us all the many good things that we need to enjoy life here on earth. All these good gifts give us little indications about life in close communion with God. If his gifts can give us so much joy, just imagine the delight that comes from actually possessing him – and that’s exactly what he wants for us, both now, here on earth, in part, and completely, forever in heaven. Jesus came to restore the entire human condition back to its original fullness. He came that we may have life and have it to the fullest. It is part of human nature to celebrate, to enjoy the good things of creation (like marriage and wine), and Christ wants to teach us how to do so in a balanced, healthy way. The better we know him, the more fully we will experience the life he has given us.

Whenever we do whatever he tells us, we become, like the wedding guests, possessors of the bounties of nature garnished with an immeasurable outpouring of divine grace. God wants us to enjoy the good things of life, as the wedding guests at Cana enjoyed the water turned into wine, but he also wants us to enjoy them well. We need the virtue of Temperance since, wounded by original sin, we all have a tendency to over-indulge. But when we are filled with the Word of God and the Sacraments, we are better primed to live life to the full here on earth while at the same time booking our way to the ultimate wedding party – that of the Lamb of God who offers us his blood for drink.

Being filled with the Word and the Sacraments helps us learn to enjoy God’s gifts with discipline. For example, it helps us to be mindful of the way we dress. As strange as it may sound, how we dress affects how we feel and how we act. We must take enough care of the way we look to reflect our dignity as children of the Kingdom, without becoming slaves to vanity and fashion. We should be like Christ, the source of order and self-discipline, peace, and balance in our lives. Another area is the way we eat and the way we speak. Once again, the dignity and simplicity of our Christian identity should shine through. Our courteousness and moderation should encourage and inspire those around us, even our family members. Manners show respect for ourselves and for others, and that is a sure path to the strength and peace that will enable us to enjoy all the beauties and pleasures of God’s creation without being enslaved by them.

Today, let us humbly ask Jesus to teach us how to enjoy the bounties of life with respect and moderation. Let us ask him to turn the water of our daily lives into the wine of a life lived in close and constant communion with him. And may he fill the jars of our lives with all the graces needed to restore and maintain Christian discipline and moderation in our life. Amen!

 


 

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