A Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, January 16, 2022
Reading I: Isaiah 62:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Gospel: John 2:1-11
We have put up all the Christmas decorations, and students have resumed their daily school activities. It seems that things have returned to “normal,” whatever that may mean for each of us. But I have to ask, how has the celebration of Christ’s birth led us to make a difference in our lives? And, just as important, we also have to consider where the new liturgical season we are entering into is directing our attention?
This Second Sunday of Ordinary Time continues with the “manifestations of Jesus” first at his birth on Christmas. Next, the Epiphany, when the Magi point our attention toward Jesus as our King and Savior. And, the Baptism of Jesus when the cleansing waters fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit and pour grace upon us.
This weekend, we experience the first “Sign” from Jesus, that He is our messiah. The Wedding Feast of Cana where Jesus reveals that he is the gift, the one that has come to save us.
As we explore the readings for this weekend, it becomes abundantly clear that they speak to us not only about the revelation of Jesus, the beginning of His ministry through His “Sign,” but also about mercy and love, and the gifts given, not only given but given in abundance.
Our first reading from Isaiah speaks to the abundant mercy and love of God… “you shall no longer be called ‘Forsaken’ but be called ‘My Delight” for the Lord indeed delights in us and is transforming us. Also, “as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” Not only delighting in us but as a lover longing for his beloved.
As we hear those words spoken, can we even begin to comprehend the goodness, the gift, and the abundance of God’s love and mercy? Does Isaiah’s message prompt us to ask ourselves: What new beginning, what transformation do we seek at this time of our lives?
St. Paul in the Second Reading speaks of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us through the abundant generosity of God. Yes, God’s gifts are not only good but precious, for they lead us to Him.
These gifts are not natural! No human can claim these gifts their own, but given through the generosity of God. They are not gifts that we hide away either; they are to be shared with others, especially the needy and the poor. The poor not just in material goods; but also, those who are poor in spirit.
John’s Gospel shares with us the Wedding Feast of Cana, where we see Jesus’ glory publicly revealed, the moment his identity and, most importantly, his mission comes to light. Once again, God’s abundant generosity manifested through Jesus is gifted to humanity, to each and every one of us.
This abundance is revealed and recognized in the large water jars, some 120 to 180 gallons in total, filled to the brim. A metaphor for when we too can sometimes feel empty, but Jesus is there ensuring he will fill us to overflowing. He transforms us just like the water into wine, and this is not a simple transformation but a transformation that brings about the best.
This new season calls us to review our lives and search out times when we felt empty. We need to ask ourselves, how are we filling our lives? Do we seek or allow ourselves to be filled, filled abundantly, and transformed into the best by God? Are we able to accept the gifts, the abundant love, and mercy of God?
This weekend is the beginning of Ordinary Time for the Church calendar. Will we allow it to be ordinary for us? Or, will we let it be the beginning of something special, a manifestation of Jesus and the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us?
May we all seek to be filled to the brim and transformed!
Peace and Joy,