Commentary Theme for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year C.
“A Wedding Surprise!”
The prophet Isaiah promises that Jerusalem, destroyed and abandoned, will once again be the beloved spouse of God.
The second reading touches on a very topical point for our communities: it speaks of “Charisms”. God grants these to each one of us so that we can serve our brothers and sisters better.
In the Gospel the miracles of Jesus were the manifestations of his divine power. Mary was the first cell of the believing community, the Mother of the Church.
The first reading and the Gospel use the image of marriage to describe the relationship between God and his people.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible. These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings. These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings. ‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“Allow the Spirit of God to break the chains that keep us from understanding and accepting the word of God.
Isaiah 62:1-5. In today’s first reading, God uses the image of conjugal love to describe his great affection for the people of Israel. Jerusalem had been unfaithful to her spouse (the Lord), she had offered her graces to her many lovers (the gods of the Assyrians and Babylonians) and these had humbled her, like a prostitute. How was her marriage to the Lord supposed to end? What do husbands generally do to unfaithful wives? Do they welcome back into the home once dissoluteness has disfigured them? ‘Certainly not!” They don’t take them back at all! They normally even avoid the sight of them. The people of Israel, back from their long exile in Babylon, found Jerusalem like a heap of ruins, and began to think that there was nothing to do; they were convinced that God had repudiated them forever. But the love of God is not as weak and fragile as the love of men and women. In spite of all the betrayals, he does not reject his spouse. What happened to the “Spouse-Jerusalem” is an image of what happens to every person, to every Christian community that betrays Christ. The idols (money, sex, power, glory…) that bewitch us with their many false promises of happiness which soon turn out to be exploiting lovers. Is there somebody among us who has not been disappointed by these ‘lovers’ time and again? The reading of today has a message of hope for all those who in life have experienced the destruction and desolation caused by sin: God does not love his spouse because of her beauty, he makes her beautiful by loving her; he does not punish her, does not forsake her because of her betrayals, he makes her faithful with his unfailing love. God’s gratuitous love is all embracing. Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10. (Missal Ps. 95). R/ v.3. The Psalm consists of phrases from many biblical sources, all used today to praise God. He is greeted as a king who has real care for his people. This Psalm may have been used at the feast of Tabernacles when the thousands of lights in Jerusalem made night like day, as Isaiah visualized. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. “Charism” means “a gratuitous gift of God”, and so it is a very good thing, and yet the second reading is telling us that within the community of Corinth there was a lot of confusion just because of these charisms. Among the charisms there was one that was held in particular esteem: the gift of tongues. It consisted in the ability to go into an ecstasy during community prayers and then speak in strange languages. It was seen as a great honour to praise God in this ecstatic manner but it raised some problems. Many were trying and those who failed were rather annoyed and felt inferior to other members of the community. Those who prayed during their ecstasies did it all together, creating a lot of confusion. Paul feels the duty to intervene and gives some guidelines. Paul’s converts in Corinth prided themselves on the gifts of the Spirit. They estimated the quality of their Christianity by their flamboyance. Paul in 1 Corinthians congratulates them on these gifts. But he insists that since they came from a common origin, the Spirit of God, they must be for a common purpose and not divide the community. They witness to the same God, described in Trinitarian terms as the Spirit, Lord and God. Their importance is based on the benefits these gifts bring to the community. The most important gifts was that of love and preaching wisdom which fosters a better understanding of God’s plans, which meant for Paul the ‘Word on the Cross’ (1 Cor 1:20) and the least was that of speaking in tongues. John 2:1-11. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is invited to a wedding in Cana with his disciples and it is here that he works his first miracle. Jesus is present at the wedding with his mother also and she is the one who invites him to help the newly wed couple. The miracle is possible because the servants obey the command of Jesus. The experience of the first Christians was that Mary has a special place in the life and ministry of Jesus and that she is a gift to the believers of all times. We can also consider her as our Mother and trust that she intercedes for all the beloved disciples of Jesus. She tells the servants: “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:6). Jesus tells his mother that his ‘hour’ has not yet come. In the Gospel of John the hour of Jesus is a very important theological theme. The time is not yet right but it is coming. When finally the hour comes it will be time for suffering, death, and then Resurrection (Jn 17:1). It is a manifestation of whom Jesus really is, the ‘One’ sent by God with a mission of proclaiming God’s love and of leading people to life in abundance. The hour of Jesus reminds us today that God has his hour also for us. Like Jesus we have to accept how and when he will reveal himself to us. God’s time is the best time. When John speaks of miracles as signs he wants us to go beyond the external aspects of the deed itself to meet the God of Jesus who is present and active in and through Jesus. The steward at the wedding knew how things were done. You serve the good wine while people are sober enough to care about vintage and as the celebration goes on – wedding parties could last for days back then – you gradually serve up some all-but- undrinkable beverages. Who would notice on the third day what they were drinking? Strangely he is the first one in John’s Gospel to greet the paradox of the kingdom: The ‘last will be first, the first last’, and the choice wine comes up when you least expect it. The wedding feast at Cana not only narrates the first sign of Jesus but also is rich in biblical symbolism. The coming of the Messiah is often portrayed as a wedding banquet. The amount of fine wine given by Jesus equals between 120 and 180 gallons, which reflects the Old Testament motif of an abundance of wine in the final days (Amos 9:13-14; Hos 14:8; Jer 31:12). In John’s Gospel there are ‘seven’ such signs because seven is a number signifying perfection and completeness. To present ‘seven signs’ is to give a full picture of Jesus’ extraordinary deeds. Each sign is meant to lead the disciples and the Christian community into a deeper faith in Jesus. In the ‘seven sacraments’, we continue to remember and to celebrate the signs of Jesus. They are meant to lead us today into a deeper trust in Jesus. Through these signs Jesus continues to show God’s power and his love to us. Mary had the faith that enables to trust even when we don’t understand. In times of trouble and confusion, we can turn to Jesus even when it looks as though he cant do anything or doesn’t want to. Mary knew him better than that, and so should we. He never let her down, and he feels the same way about us.
God does not even name the bride and groom because the real marriage was between God and humanity. It shows the abundance of God’s giving.
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week: Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C, we reflect on … Sun. …Like Jerusalem, we have been unfaithful to the Lord. We have offered up our love, trust and hope in the things of this world. We have even placed these ‘things’ as more important in our lives than our Creator. Reflect on the times we have allowed this to happen and how he welcomed us back with love and forgiveness like his prodigal son or daughter. Mon. …When we force God out of our lives, the ‘evil one’ quickly fills up that void in our hearts. We will be given ‘new lovers’ in the form of idols symbolizing the things of this world, who or which promise us great pleasures which we misconstrue as true happiness. The first reading has a message of truth and hope for all of us who have experienced the destruction and desolation caused by our wrong choices as a result of these false promises. Tue. …Often when we return from our self-imposed exile we find that our lives are in a state of disarray and turmoil and feel that God has punished and abandoned us. God has not punished us or forsaken us; we have abandoned God and punished ourselves by our wrong choices. Wed. …In the second reading, Paul helps us to understand more the ‘Gifts’ of the Holy Spirit. We must never feel that our ‘gifts’ and abilities are less and inferior to others. We have all been created different, our gifts are special and different and reflect God’s unique plan for each one of us. Thur. …In the Gospel reading, Mary tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you”. Mary is also telling us as the ‘new people of God’ to follow Christ’s teachings before his ‘coming’. Do we do what Jesus tells us to do in his Gospel? Frid. …Do we fully understand the paradox of the kingdom: that the ‘last will be first, and the first last’; and we do not know the ‘day or the hour’? We all need to be alert and make the right preparations. What preparations? The Gospel is our guide, our road map to our salvation. Sat. …In John’s Gospel, there are ‘Seven Signs’, which give us a full picture of Jesus’ extraordinary deeds, which will lead us into a deeper understanding and faith in Jesus, our Redeemer. In the ‘Seven Sacrament’s we continue to celebrate these signs of Jesus, which
shows us God’s power and his enduring love and mercy for us.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Almighty God and Father, grant us Your grace to never lose our faith, our love, our hope and our trust in You. Grant us the wisdom to never doubt You. Grant us the strength to overcome all temptations and to never put our trust in the idols of this world.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Compliments: Bible Discussion Group.
Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.
“Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.