Reading 1 1 JN 5:14-21
We have this confidence in God,
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life.
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray.
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.
We know that no one begotten by God sins;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.
Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1-2, 3-4, 5 AND 6A AND 9B
R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Alleluia LK 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel JN 2:1-11
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
(although the servers who had drawn the water knew),
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
Jesus at The Wedding Feast in Cana By Gerard David
From Father Tommy Lane
We have been meditating frequently on the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) since Pope John Paul II added this to the Rosary as the Second Luminous Mystery in 2001. It must have been a big embarrassment in Cana when the wedding party ran out of wine. When we consider that at that time a wedding celebration lasted not just for a day like our celebrations but for a whole week the embarrassment would be even more acute. Because the wedding celebration was so long it is no wonder that Jesus changed so many gallons of water into wine. The bad situation began to turn right when Mary turned to Jesus and said, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3) Mary interceded and pleaded before Jesus to turn the situation around. It was not just then that Mary intervened in Cana, she continues to plea before God on our behalf now. One of the documents of Vatican II,Lumen Gentium,says,
“This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator.”
(Lumen Gentium Vatican II §62)
One of the titles Vatican II gave Mary in that document is Advocate because she intercedes before God on our behalf as our advocate and also on December 8th 2000 Pope John Paul referred to Our Lady as our Advocate of Mercy. In the prayer which we pray after the Rosary, the “Hail Holy Queen”, we ask Mary to intercede before God for us. We ask Mary to be our “gracious advocate” before God.
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this exile
show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.
After Mary’s intercession and advocacy to remedy the situation at Cana, some people are puzzled by Jesus’ reply, “Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) Sometimes people ask me if Jesus is being rude or disrespectful to his mother. Many things in John’s Gospel have a hidden second meaning, they are symbols, and when Jesus called Mary “Woman” at Cana he was not rude or disrespectful. This is not the only time when Jesus called Mary “Woman.” The other time was when Jesus was dying on the cross and he said, “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26) and to John he said, “This is your mother” (John 19:27) and we know Jesus was not disrespectful to his mother then. On the cross Jesus means that Mary is the spiritual mother of us all. Mary, by co-operating with God’s plan of salvation, became the New Eve. She is the woman who fixed what the first woman, Eve, had broken. So at Cana when Jesus calls Mary “Woman” we only understand fully what Jesus means when Jesus calls Mary “Woman” on the cross as he gives her to us as our spiritual mother, the New Eve. So instead of being an insult or disrespectful to call Mary “Woman” Jesus is saying she is the New Eve, she is the woman who has been awaited for centuries since God’s prediction to the serpent in Genesis that Eve’s offspring would bruise its head (Gen 3:15).
Mary’s response to Jesus was to tell the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) It shows us Mary’s total trust in the Word of God. She is the first person in John’s Gospel to show total trust in the Word of God. Mary is therefore a model Christian for us as she says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Let us ask Mary to help us to do whatever Jesus tells us. As Mary says, “Do whatever he tells you” once again we see Mary’s importance as our intercessor, pleading on our behalf.
In conclusion, we remember that many times each day we ask Mary to intercede before God for us, to be our Advocate, as we pray the “Hail Mary” and say,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death.
How can we fight against sin? This seems an uphill task. We all want to be good and to do the right thing. We want to worship God and make Him the center of our lives. Yet, as St John says, “The whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.” We keep falling into sin no matter how much we try. Indeed, it is so frustrating, especially with the sins of pride, anger, envy, sloth, lust, gluttony and greed. Now and again, we fall into one of these sins. So much so, some of us give up struggling against sin for our ego gets bruised just when we think after a good confession, we can now live a holy life. Before we know it, there, we fall into sin again! The tendency for us is to admit defeat and surrender to the temptations of the Evil One. As it is often said, “if you cannot beat them, join them!” If we are having a defeatist attitude, then think twice again, as we read today’s first reading.
Firstly, St John tells us that “every kind of wrong-doing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.” We must make a distinction between the sin that rejects God fundamentally in our lives and those venial sins that offend God out of human weakness because of human passion. Among the mortal sins, the most deadly of all is the sin that rejects God wholly in our lives. It is the refusal to acknowledge God and the truth. It is the sin of impiety or practical atheism, that is, living in evil and shutting God completely out from our lives. This deadly sin cannot be forgiven because the person is deliberately and freely choosing evil instead of goodness; Satan and His works instead of Christ and the gospel. This sin “is a sin that is death, and I will not say that you must pray about that.”
Hence, St John urges us, “Children, be on your guard against false gods.” We need to be on guard all the time. The seven capital sins are the false gods in our lives where we worship ourselves primarily, and the world, which includes people and things. By addressing us as “children” St John is reminding us that we are not the offspring of Satan but of God. We are the children of God. This is our true identity. St John reiterates that ”anyone who has been begotten by God does not sin, because the begotten Son of God protects him, and the Evil One does not touch him. We know that we belong to God, but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.” If we are truly children of God, and God is in us, in principle, we should not give ourselves to the Evil One as it contradicts our identity as sons and daughters of God in Christ.
But the existential fact is that we do sin. This is our real frustration. Not only do we sin, but we sin again and again. So much so, we give up going for the sacrament of reconciliation because it seems we are repeating the same old sins and even adding new ones. It appears that we are not getting any better. This is precisely what the Devil wants. He wants us to be discouraged and give up hope that we can ever live the life of God. Even Jesus was tempted after His baptism in the desert when the Devil challenged His divine sonship by tempting Him to prove Himself by changing stone into bread or even jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple. (Cf Lk 4:1-13) So should we be surprised that after our baptism or after a good sacrament of reconciliation, the Devil would tempt us even more?
This is where St John, realizing that we are still children in faith, urges us, “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that is not a deadly sin, he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner.” Yes, we must pray all the more for forgiveness and for the strength to resist the relentless attempts of the devil to derail our path to holiness. And this is the assurance that St John gives us, “We are quite confident that if we ask the Son of God for anything and it is in accordance with his will, he will hear us; and, knowing that whatever we may ask, he hears us, we know that we have been granted what we asked of him.” God will give us the grace to overcome sin, and greater grace still, when we sin, since St Paul says “where sin increases grace abounds all the more.” (Rom 5:20)
What does prayer entail? It means coming into intimacy with the Lord. As we grow in intimacy with the Lord, we will find ourselves more and more drawn towards Him than to the world. Fighting against sin requires more than a passive resistance against temptation but an active offensive against sin by intensifying our relationship with the Lord. If we focus too much on our sins and weaknesses, we become weak and discouraged. Worse still, we become even more obsessed with the very thing that we want to give up. This is true particularly when it comes to the sin of lust and gluttony. The more we want to give up, the more we are compelled and tempted, as it fills our minds and our hearts all day and night, thinking about sex and food. So instead of giving in to further fantasies, we should be proactive by growing in love and in intimacy with our Lord. The more we come to share in His love, the more we feel that we are loved by Him, the more secure we become and the less desire we have for the world and its goods. When we are loved, we have everything. The rest is secondary. Why are we so lustful, greedy, envious and angry if not because we feel empty within, especially the vacuum of love in our lives? But if God fills us with His love, then we will find ourselves complete and fulfilled.
Isn’t this what the gospel is inviting us through Mary and the miracle at Cana? Mary was a great woman of prayer and hence also sensitive to the needs of others. She knew Jesus so intimately that she also knew the needs of her fellowmen as well. She is not only sensitive to God but also to those around her. So when the wedding couple ran out of wine and it would have been so embarrassing for them, she told Jesus, “They have no wine.” When Jesus replied to her, “Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet”, Mary simply instructed the servants saying, “Do whatever he tells you.” Such was the utter confidence in her Son. Without pressurizing Him, she just entrusted the whole quandary to Jesus. If Mary was so great an intercessor, it was because not only did she unite herself with the needs and sufferings of her brothers and sisters but she was also in union with God and knows the mind and heart of God. If she could pray so confidently as St John asked of us, it was because she knew that her Son is full of compassion and would somehow answer her request for the wedding couple even though it was not yet His Hour of glorification, which would only take place at His passion, death and resurrection. (Cf Jn 12:23-36) The key to Mary’s powerful intercession is intimacy leading to obedience in doing His will. So if we want to overcome sin, we need to know the Lord so that we can surrender our lives to Him since we would then have heard Him so clearly in our minds and feel His love so tenderly in our hearts. We can be certain that Mary’s love for God and for her fellowmen had a part to play in moving the heart of Jesus to respond the same way to the couple’s predicament, notwithstanding His plan.
But something even more significant about today’s gospel is that the marriage feast at Cana is an anticipation of the sacrament of the Eucharist. By associating this miracle with His Hour, that is, His death and resurrection, St John posits that by changing water into wine in Cana, Jesus was anticipating the cross where blood and water flowed from His side. (cf Jn 19:34) In other words, it prepares us for the sacrament of Baptism and the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, we drink the new wine of the blood of Christ which gives us the Holy Spirit and we become one with Christ in Holy Communion. In uniting ourselves with the Lord, beginning with Baptism and reinforced by the reception of His body and blood, our intimacy with the Lord is intensified. With Christ as our bridegroom and we His bride, we can then be confident that united in heart and mind with Him, we will find greater strength to resist sin and even if we fail, we know that He is there waiting to console us and encourage us to persevere. Repeatedly, St John wrote in his letter, “we know” the heart of God that has been revealed to us by Jesus and so we need not be afraid.
Indeed, we must be patient because God does not force us to grow in love against our human nature. He knows that because we are fallen creatures, we need time to learn, to grow in grace and wisdom. That is why we must pick ourselves up again every time we fall, never thinking that we are without hope. And our hope is certain because it is founded in our Lord.
… there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
He was known as a son of the deceased Joseph of Nazareth and his widow Mary, who raised His younger brothers at home. Jesus was not a married man who could invite His friends over to His house. His Disciples met at Peter’s house, feasted in the homes of others or even gathered in fields on hillsides or park-like olive groves. Jesus seemed always to be a guest and never the host.
In many ways Jesus can NOT provide a perfect example for us in every life situation.
As a husband, does any human experience of Jesus show you how you should behave toward your wife? (Of course Jesus was not married to a woman.) Jesus does not model the role or place for a woman. This Son of Man who had no children didn’t write a book of how to deal with your teen’s technology or your terrible two’s tantrums.
In a sense, Jesus was just like us in that He was imperfect as a family man.
Jesus loved celebrating with loved ones. He had to choose which parties He would attend and the company with whom He would spend His measured mortal time. Jesus celebrated as a guest with those He loved.
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