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Friday, 14 January 2022 18:28

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2021

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 2:1-11

Fr Elmer Ibarra 150 BestI’m unashamed to say that I’m a “Mama’s Boy”. Whenever I needed something and I couldn’t get it from my dad, I always turned to my mum and without a doubt my dad would give in. The most significant occasion of them all was when I was expressing my desire to enter the seminary. My dad was against it but my mum convinced my dad to give me my wish and his blessing to enter the seminary. Ironically, when I got ordained as a priest, it was my dad with all smiles as he was proud to have a son as a priest, while my mum was crying because she knew that I’d be leaving for Australia for my mission.

In the gospel for today, there was a couple that most probably were friends of Mary who ran out of wine during their wedding feast. For a couple, the wedding feast is a culmination of months or in most cases a year-long matrimony process. For Jews, there are three stages of the matrimony process. First is the courtship stage where the couple have a chance to know each other. Second, after negotiations between the two families, the couple gets “betrothed”, it means that they sign a document that they are now married but they can’t live together yet. They must still live with their parents. If the bride is a virgin, they can’t live together for a year. If the bride is a widow, they can’t live together for six months. Then after the betrothal period, after a few more negotiations, the groom will pick up the bride at her home and bring her to his village where the week-long wedding feast is waiting. After that there’s the public marriage ceremony and the wedding feast starts. The wedding feast is so grand and the whole village is invited that it would take about a week and with a feast that long, you would need a lot of wine which is a staple in a feasting.

In this wedding though, the couple got into trouble as they ran out of wine. Of course, when they realised that the wine had run out, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be known as this would cause huge embarrassment for the couple. So most probably, Mary was informed discreetly about the situation hoping that Jesus could do something to salvage the situation. Even though, Mary was mildly rebuked by Jesus by telling her “it was not yet time”, Mary told the servers to do whatever Jesus told them to do. So Jesus did his first miracle by turning water into wine.

In the gospel of John, there are only seven miracles or what John would describe as “signs”. And if you analyse those miracles, they started small like the one today which is turning water into wine  and ended with the greatest miracle that Jesus performed, when he raised Lazarus to life after being in the tomb for four days. And the miracle at the wedding in Cana is also important for another reason and that is the power of Mary’s intercession. During the life of Christ, after the first few years Mary takes a back seat during the ministry of Jesus, only appearing in the most important events in the life of Christ. And this one, the wedding at Cana is considered an important event for this is the first miracle of Jesus. Then during Jesus’ ministry, except for a few verses, Mary seems to have disappeared only to reappear when Jesus was hanging on the cross. And yet, we are convinced that Mary is always there throughout the life of Jesus.

That is why for us Catholics, Mary is a very important person in our faith. Even the National Geographic Magazine on its front cover for December 2015 declared Mary as the “most powerful woman in the world”. While we also believe that we can pray directly to God without the need for intercessors like the saints and the Virgin Mary, we find it very useful and easier to pray and ask their intercession to a person who we can associate with much closer like the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. And the Church is not discouraging us from doing that because we all believe that all prayers will go to God.

As we continue to reflect on this beautiful gospel passage, let us continue to call on Mary to intercede for us. We all believe that as Jesus couldn’t say no to his Mother Mary, we also believe that if we request Mary to intercede for us, Jesus won’t say no to that too.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, the Society of the Divine Word, Australia Province, acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea, sky, and community.

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