Little Tommy was so impressed by his sister’s wedding that he announced. “I want to have a wedding just like Linda had.” “That sounds great,” said his father. “But whom will you marry?” Tommy announced: “I want to marry grandma because she loves me and I love her.” “You can’t marry grandma,” his father said. “Why not?” Tommy protested. “Because she is my mother.” “Well,” reasoned Tommy, “Then why did you marry my mother?”
The last two weekends we celebrated Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord: God the Fathers reveals his son, Jesus, the Messiah. This weekend we see Jesus at the wedding of Cana: another revelation. Pope St. John Paul II gave us a beautiful gift when he introduced the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The second mystery is the subject of today’s Gospel, the Wedding Feast at Cana where Jesus changed water into wine. The miracle at Cana is the first of seven “signs” in John’s Gospel - miraculous events by which Jesus showed forth his Divinity.
Throughout the Bible, marriage is the symbol of the Covenant relationship between God and His chosen people. God is the faithful Groom and humanity is His beloved bride. We hear about divine marriage in the first reading. God is like a bridegroom who rejoices in his bride. Israel is God's bride. Jesus takes up the theme of divine marriage. He begins his public ministry by calling himself "the bridegroom." And in today's Gospel, Jesus the divine bridegroom attends a human wedding feast. He performs his first miracle on behalf of a young bride and groom.
The presence of the Lord at this marriage feast has resulted in our associating Cana with Catholic marriage. But this miracle is more about the sacrament of the Eucharist than marriage. The first sign, Cana, points to the Final Sign in the Gospel of John, the crucifixion, when Jesus is raised upon the Cross. First of all, today’s Gospel passage points to the extraordinary transformation of the world begun at Cana. Its completion is at Calvary. Every reception of the Eucharist is a union with the crucified Savior whose blood has defeated the power of evil and transform our world. Mary’s instruction is very important, "Do whatever he tells you."
The miracle at Cana invites us to become Jesus and Mary. The question is how? Let us look at tragedies around our lives. Most of the time we wonder about it, try to find an answer. It is ok, beyond that discussion; the miracle at Cana invites us to perform another miracle by giving a helping hand through our thoughts, prayers, and actions. It is an invitation to become Mary and Joseph. Jesus breaks and shares with us at every Mass and we sent out do the same. When our hearts move towards the needy, the miracle happens, this celebration becomes meaningful… the celebration will continue in our life. Mary told Jesus, “they have no wine”….a thought for the other!
Trip to India: I will be leaving for India on January 23rd and will be back February 20th. We have priests for every weekend and on weekdays Deacon Chet, Bob, and Rick Harter will be leading the services. Please keep me in your prayers, I will keep you all in my prayer. I hope it won’t get too cold here and too warm in India either. It should be 80’s in Kerala, India.
Do you remember your baptism? I don’t. Once I was baptizing a baby. When I poured the water on his head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he turned his head and looked at me with a question “where is this coming from?” In a recent baptism, a baby was ready to jump in the baptismal font. He looked content and happy. What did you do at your baptism?
Last weekend we celebrated Epiphany, the revelation of the Lord. This weekend again we celebrate that God the Father reveals his Son: Baptism of the Lord. We can see a beautiful painting in the Gospel: the Baptism of the Lord. We can see here that all three persons of God was present. Jesus Christ, the second person of God, standing at the Jordan River. We hear the voice of the Father from heaven and Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove.
The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord concludes Christmas and begins the meditation on the ministry of Jesus. Why baptism for Jesus? God’s love was so generous to humble him for us. The Son of God humbled Himself to such a degree that He was born in a manger. He humbled Himself accepting the baptism of John even though He was sinless. We celebrate what happened in him to us. When Jesus was baptized a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased." The same thing happened to us on the day we were baptized. On that moment God said to us, “you are my beloved son/daughter.”
There are three effects of the Baptism. The first effect of baptism is that washes away our Original Sin. We fall again in the life and other Sacraments gives us the mercy of God, and we revisit that baptismal innocence. The second effect of baptism is an indelible mark upon the soul. Here we so closely conformed in Jesus Christ. We become adopted sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. God is the spirit, at the same time he revealed to us as a Father. So we pray the prayer Our Father… We call him Aba Father. The third effect of the baptism is that the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit breathed in our soul and allows us members of the mystical Body of Christ, the Church.
Every time we come into the Church, we dip the fingers of our right hands into the holy water font and bless ourselves. Why? This blessing is supposed to remind us of our baptism. And so when I bless myself with holy water, I should be thinking of the fact that I am a child of God; that I have been redeemed by the Cross of Christ; that I have been made a member of God’s family and that I have been washed, forgiven, cleansed and purified by the blood of the Lamb.
On the day of our baptism, as in St. Pope John Paul II’s writings, "We were anointed with the oil of catechumens, the sign of Christ's gentle strength, to fight against evil. Blessed water was poured over us, an effective sign of interior purification through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We were then anointed with chrism to show that we were thus consecrated in the image of Jesus, the Father's Anointed One. The candle lit from the paschal candle was a symbol of the light of faith which our parents and godparents must have continually safeguarded and nourished with the life-giving grace of the Spirit."
The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of our mission, mission of the Church.