Hi everyone, this is my homily for JANUARY 20, 2019 – the 2nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. The readings for today’s Mass can be found HERE Thanks as always for reading; sharing this blog on your social media sites; and your feedback and comments. I appreciate it. Have a good week – God Bless – Fr Jim Audio:
Also you can get the audios of the homilies from iTunes as a Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fr-jim-cherns-homilies/id1440618142?mt=2
Not too long ago, a friend shared a link to this headline – “Whats wrong with these pictures?” Of course I had probably a hundred things to do that were of much greater importance, but, being ADD, of course I needed to go down this rabbit hole. Clicking the link opened up a slideshow that began with these words- “from the wonderfully hilarious to the absolutely terrifying, enjoy these outrageous when you see it photos from the edge of your seat.” Usually these types of internet things can be a but of a let down, but I found myself clicking away picture at picture that kind of ran between those extremes of terrifying to hysterical or both. First there was a picture of a girl sitting on her bed with the caption of “the eyes peeping under the bed are freaky.” It took a few moments, but eventually you saw what looked like an opening between the mattress and the bed frame to be the eye and nose of someone freakishly staring at the unsuspecting girl smiling posing for the picture. Another photo had a woman in her bathroom taking a selfie that was ruined when you read the caption: When you try to take a seductive selfie, make sure your dog isn’t drinking out of the toilet bowl first Or this favorite of mine, showing two hunters, posing with a bear they had killed with the caption “these hunters have no idea what is behind them” and as you looked in the background, camouflaged in the darkness of the night and forest they were in, you saw a black bear on all fours, slowly sneaking up on the photo session. (you can check these out: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4009132/Can-spot-s-wrong-pictures-look-innocent-glance-definitely-NOT-seems.html )
I was struck how more times than not, I wouldn’t have caught those important things that were right there for me to see. For the most part, I was drawn to the thing that was front and center -the main focus or point of the picture and needed those captions… and some time to stare and look at the picture for a few minutes to see that face, that dog or that bear or whatever the thing that seemed somewhat hidden that was right there in front of me. To look past the obvious and recognize something of even greater importance… I’m sure there was more to the story for those hunters then their celebrating killing that one bear .
Every time I’ve encountered this Gospel, I’ve been drawn to simply to the miracle itself. What’s not to like about Jesus turning massive jars of water into fine wine? – That’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. Or at other times, I might find myself focusing on some of the obvious details – reflecting on Mary, Jesus’ mother seemingly forcing her son to help the couple out when they find themselves in this position of being out of wine – there’s a tremendous amount to unpack just there.
But reading one commentary on this Gospel, kind of put some “captions” under this Gospel image of “The Wedding of Cana” that gave me a lot to think about. For example, I didn’t realize that in the Gospel of John, John never uses the name Mary but simply refers to her as “the mother of Jesus.” That’s not because he didn’t know her name or meant as a slight to her. John was the one who on the cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to his care. So John knows and loves the Blessed Virgin Mary. And she’s not the only one John doesn’t identify by name. John doesn’t even use his own name in his writing this Gospel, but refers to himself as “the beloved disciple.”
The point is that John doesn’t want any of the other characters to deflect attention from what should be the focal point of his entire Gospel: Jesus himself. The entirety of the focus belongs to Him and Him alone. So in this Gospel passage, it’s not about Mary getting her son to do something she’d like Him to do. The joke is that oftentimes every mother thinks their son walks on water, and in this case she’s right. But there’s truth to that here. The mother of Jesus knows who Jesus is… And she’s pointing towards Him and drawing attention to Him.
And when she does, John again chooses his words carefully. This miraculous feat isn’t called a miracle. Rather, John says “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciple s began to believe in him.”
In short, John is telling us that no one, no thing, no event, can compare to Jesus. And the entirety of His Gospel is all about that and pointing out His true identity. As much as the picture of Cana often draws our focus on Mary’s role in this, or the feat itself, John is putting these captions in to make us look deeper, see beyond those things and to recognize this is all about Jesus and who He is.
Jesus is the one who will fulfill all those beautiful promises that we heard in that first reading – moving the people from feeling “forsaken” and seeing things as “desolate.” In Jesus, we are called God’s “delight” – the people are “espoused” to Him… and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so God rejoices in us…
Which is what makes the gospel relevant to us today (and every day). Think about all the things that we carry with us when we come into the doors of this Church. The tremendous amount of images we take in on a daily basis… the voices, the characters that we encounter whether in our own personal lives or just amplified through every various device that we are more attached to each passing day. I know that I can think of family concerns, and tensions; I can think of failures in my own ministry and work; I can easily rattle off things going on in the world or even in our Church that dispirit me, discourage me… It’s understandable that for each of us, we find our attention is drawn to all of those things; focusing on the places in our lives where our wine has run out – or the many other cares, fears, worries we experience get us to feeling forsaken – or looking around the world around us and believing all is desolate as well.
But thanks be to God, despite those realities we’re here today. We’ve gathered here in this place and the Gospel wants us to look closer at the pictures. Deeper at the mental images we carry in our minds and hearts. And this Gospel “captions” to us:
The good news that God rejoices in us.
The good news that Jesus is concerned with our concerns.
The good news that Jesus’ hour has come and is still here – and that He continues to reveal His glory in our lives – and when we allow Him to, through our lives.
It’s right there – in every moment of selflessness; It’s revealed in every act of sacrifice we experience; It’s renewed in those acts of forgiveness offered and received… It’s proclaimed once again in the care and concern that begin in the heart that become calls to action.
Sometimes we just need to look a little deeper, a bit more carefully and see what’s hidden in the pictures right in front of us.