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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “January, 2019”

SECOND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

 

cana

 

This Weekend we hear the Gospel story of the Wedding Feast at Cana. The wedding at Cana which was the first time that Jesus worked a miracle when he changed the water into wine. We hear Mary telling Jesus that ‘they have no wine’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’  This Gospel is a story with many threads – the insight into the relationship between Mary and Jesus – the miracle of the wine itself – the fact that the miraculous wine is better than the original – the fact of Jesus honouring the young couple in this way . The bride and groom whose wedding is being celebrated are in the background because at the heart of this story we see Mary and Jesus. Mary, who asks for help when she tells Jesus “they have no wine”, Mary the faith filled disciple, has trust in divine providence. In the place of the divine spouse, stands Jesus Son of the Father. The care, concern and affection of God are manifest in the Son and it is the care and affection that re reflected through Mary his mother.

In her response at the wedding at Cana Mary shows herself a model disciple who trusts in God. She shows that trust with the words that are meant for all of us even now as we read them again “Do whatever he tells you.”  In the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes there is an icon over the main altar with the words To Jesus through Mary and that is another aspect of this story, Mary always points away from herself to Jesus. Mary is giving us the direction to do what Jesus asks us to do. She is not saying that we should do what she wants us to do instead she is showing us the way to Jesus the son of God. She is mother to us all and  also the first disciple of her son. She knows the way to live because she learned it by listening to her son and pondering in her heart what he did and said. We should listen closely to what she says as Mary is the one who “keeps all these things in her heart,.” Do whatever he tells you is Mary’s message for us even today.

What does Jesus ask us to do as we think about the wedding at Cana are we like Mary prepared to ponder these things in our hearts and trust the Father who can give us all things or are we prepared just to trundle along accepting the things that come along.Are we prepared to learn and understand the message that is given to us through Jesus whose mother points the way to him and asks us in the to ”do whatever he tells us to do.”

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THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

 

baptism-of-the-lord-images-baptism-of-jesus-clipart-sharefaith-15

 

This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John. The beginning of the messianic work of Jesus is marked by the moment of his baptism in the Jordan. The sacrament of Baptism is the key to all the other sacraments; it is the foundational sacrament if you like for us today. Baptism has two essential results, firstly it wipes us clean from sin and secondly it makes us members of the Church. It also opens up the opportunity for us to receive the other sacraments, most particularly the Eucharist which is the sacrament that we most frequently experience and which is the main way that our souls are nourished by God’s grace. We remember that John foretold Jesus coming and he is acclaimed on earth by John and Jesus links himself to John by being baptized by him. Jesus is acclaimed from heaven by the voice of the Father and the presence of the Spirit.

Most of us rarely think about our own baptism, Through our baptism we died with Christ and have been reborn into a whole new life (Romans 6). We, the baptized, are made a part of the body of Christ. We are called to imitate Jesus, whom Paul says, “went about doing good.” We don’t need a detailed rule book in order to know how we should act in each situation of our lives, for in baptism, we have the companionship of the Spirit of Jesus who is our wisdom, our help and our guide to do good, and enable us to do what is right in every situation we may find ourselves in.The baptism of Jesus is a moment of special grace in our story of salvation. Not only did the Son of God join us in our human condition but the Father and the Spirit were seen and heard to be present with him by the banks of the Jordan. The gospel for this Sunday uses the simple phrase that “the heavens were opened,” the voice of the Father was heard saying this is my Son and it is a powerful statement.

This particular gospel story is the beginning of the journey that Jesus was to undertake and it brought him to Calvary and the cross. Through our own baptism, each of us is asked to travel a spiritual journey of faith though we won’t end up on the Cross. Our personal faith journeys have one great purpose and the purpose is that we should try to live our lives as people of God enlivened by the Holy Spirit. Sons and daughters of the Father who are called through baptism to bring his love into the world .

THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY

Three Kings and three presents
THE THREE KINGS

 

Epiphany is an ancient feast in the church. The date was fixed on January 6 because that was the date of the winter solstice, which celebrated the rising of the sun god. Light was returning, the days growing longer. The word “epiphany” means “manifestation,” or “appearance.” Thus, we celebrate Christ as the Light of the World; who dispels our sin and darkness.

In the gospel reading for this feast the Magi or the Wise men represent the mystery of god  made manifest in human beings. By their very nature the wise men are seekers, people who came looking for the “king of the Jews.” Where would they find this royal child? Not in the courts of the powerful, like Herod. He was an example of how those in power would react to the gentle one who would draw all people into his realm. Jesus was not born in a mighty city, nor was he an heir to a powerful ruler. Instead, he was born  in Bethlehem, it was a backwater in the eyes of those of Herod’s court and the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Through the “least,” and the poor, Christ comes to us. That’s a lesson the church and its people  need to continually learn and proclaim. We, like the Magi, will find Christ among the “least.” and this is the message, the humble message that lies at the heart of our faith.

Matthew in his Gospel was writing for Jewish converts. So, in telling the story of the Magi foreigners, he was encouraging those converts to welcome the Gentiles who were coming into the church. In a way, today’s reading is a summary of the entire gospel: Jesus is the “appearance” (epiphany) of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. The political powers are troubled at the news, but Jesus will establish a new Israel that will embrace the outsiders – the Gentiles (Matthew 8:11). Today’s gospel echoes the Isaiah reading which describes the final days when Jerusalem will shine like a bright star and draw all nations together, “bearing gold and frankincense and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.” The birth of Jesus is a supernova of brightness with which we can see God’s continuing intervention in human history it also leads to a new hope, a new appreciation of the presence of God among us. Today, the call of the Savior is extended to each of us. What do we hear? will we welcome him? Will we be humble enough to believe? With God’s grace, we  can do all these things for nothing is impossible for those who have faith.

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