Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2nd Sunday Ordinary time (Cycle C)

    Here is the homily I preached at St. John's in Westminster, last Sunday. It was preached in Spanish so this is an approximation of what I said. I do a fair amount of ad-living when I preach in Spanish since Hispanic community look down on preachers who read their homilies (I do not know why).
    This morning I had the pleasure of teaching the RCIA class at the second parish in which I serve, St Michael's at Poplar Springs. The topic was The Gospel of Life. I tried to convey that the Gospel of Life could be reduced to two simple ideas: 1) Human life is sacred. 2) Human nature is complementary, meaning we are created to be in union with others. We can not be fulfilled as individuals unless we belong to a community and are united to God.
    In today Gospel we see a wonderful example of this second idea in the person of Mary. Mary was part of her Jewish community and her relationship with Jesus: mother-son, disciple-teacher, creature-God is all about having a deep union with the God-man.
    Mary had a well defined position in the community she belonged, she was a widow, which was one of the most powerless roles in ancient Judea. As part of her community she is a participant in a wedding ceremony. It is here that she notices the wedding party ran out of wine. Now, I have been in many weddings, the worst thing that could happen is that you run out of wine.
   Although a powerless widow, Mary does not shy away from this problem. She understands that this problem is her problem, because she is part of this community. What to do? She shows a complete dependency on Jesus, always the mother, intercedes for the wedding party asking her son - not commanding as it was her right - but asking Jesus for help. She doesn't tell him what to do, she just says "They have no wine". The simple prayer of those that understand the power of God. She doesn't tell him what to do, she just states her needs.
   Finally in the reading, we hear Mary speak for the last time in the Gospels, She had shown us how to embrace the problems of our communities, she had taught us how to approach God with the complete confidence that someway, somehow he has the power to help us. Now she gives us the key to a life of service and of communal happiness with our neighbor and God: "Do everything he tells you to do"
   Mary's message today is this: our nature is complementary, we are part of a community and the problems of this community are our problems. Complete union with God is nothing more than complete confidence on his power to help us when we ask for his help.