Posts Tagged ‘We also know that the Son of God has come’

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, January 12, 2019 — “He must increase; I must decrease.”

January 11, 2019

Here John shows the essence of humility, which has many forms. In what ways do I exemplify humility?

Image result for Jesus and his disciples in Judea,, art, pictures

Detail of “The Charge to Peter” by James Tissot.

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Saturday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 217

Reading 1 1 JN 5:14-21

Beloved:
We have this confidence in him
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 anyone begotten by God does not sin;
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.
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Responsorial Psalm  PS 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a)  The Lord takes delight in his people.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R.  Alleluia.

Alleluia MT 4:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  JN 3:22-30

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea,
where he spent some time with them baptizing.
John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was an abundance of water there,
and people came to be baptized,
for John had not yet been imprisoned.
Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew
about ceremonial washings.
So they came to John and said to him,
“Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan,
to whom you testified,
here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.”
John answered and said,
“No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Christ,
but that I was sent before him.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom;
the best man, who stands and listens for him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
So this joy of mine has been made complete.
He must increase; I must decrease.”

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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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12 JANUARY, 2019, Saturday after the Epiphany

THE JOY OF RECONCILING MAN WITH GOD

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [  1 JOHN 5:14-21PSALM 149:1-69JOHN 3:22-30 ]

Christmas celebrates the gift of God to us in the person of Jesus.  In assuming our humanity, Jesus reveals to us our identity as children of God.  Indeed, God became man so that man could become god.  However, many of us fail to recognize our dignity as children of God and as a consequence do not live as one.   This is because of sin.  Indeed, our sins prevent us from being conscious of our identity as sons and daughters of God.

St John in the first reading warns us of the danger of sin.  “Every kind of wrong-doing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.”  The truth is that a man begins by committing small sins.  If such things spring from his wounded nature and the manifestation of his human weakness, it is a venial sin.  Such sins are normally committed because of temptations and the weakness of the will to resist sin.   Such sins can be forgiven through prayers and the reception of the sacraments.  This is why, St John says, “If anybody 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 – not those who commit a deadly sin; for there is a sin that is death, and I will not say that you must pray about that.”

However, the sins that really destroy us are those deliberate sins which we purposefully seek to commit, knowing full well that it is a sin.  When such sins are planned and a person chooses to go against God’s will and hurt his neighbours, it is a serious sin leading to death.  Hence, we call them mortal sins.  St Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Rom 6:23)  The truth is that one begins with a small sin and then we become more daring and commit bigger sins because our hearts and minds are clouded by our sins and selfishness.  After some time, what is sinful and serious is no longer felt in our conscience.  We become dead to sin and as the consequence of sin, we hurt ourselves more and more by hurting others.

Once we commit a serious sin, unless we repent and turn to God in contrition, it will lead to a repetition of our sins.  This is what the Lord warns us.  That is why a sin of lust will lead to another and more serious sin of lust. Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Mt 5:27f)  An act of anger will lead to revenge and eventually killing.  “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Mt 5:21f)

Prayers will help a person to grow in holiness and be attuned to the will of God.  “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 ask of him.”   St John is saying that Christ will hear our prayers if we pray in accordance with His will.  Indeed, all prayers are directed towards finding and doing the will of God.  Many of us think that prayer is to change the mind of God.  Rather, prayer is to align ourselves with His holy will, which is always best for us.  That is why, if our prayers are to be answered, we need to be obedient to His will.  Indeed, we must ask whatever the Lord wants of us.  Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”  (Jn 14:13f) To ask in the name of Jesus is to ask everything for His sake and for the glory of His name.  Therefore, there is nothing more effective in growing in holiness than through prayers and intimacy with the Lord.

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Prayers will help us to know Jesus.  Knowledge of Jesus is the key to overcoming our sins because using our will is not sufficient because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  St Paul struggled with sin himself.  “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  (Rom 7:21-25)  Indeed, through our own strength alone, we cannot be delivered from sin except in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus’ love and mercy helps us to conquer sin, not out of fear of punishment but out of love for the Lord.

This is what St John meant when he wrote that if we are baptized, we will not sin.  “We know 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.”  It does not mean that Christians can no longer sin.  What St John meant is that we do not sin deliberately because of God’s spirit in us.  But we will still sin out of weakness.  However, we do not fall into despair but continue to trust in the mercy of God, knowing that He has won victory over sin.  “We know that we belong to God, but the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One. We know, too, that the Son of God has come, and has given us the power to know the true God. We are in the true God, as we are in his Son, Jesus Christ.”   This is what baptism is all about.  We have Jesus in the gospel baptizing in the river Jordan.  To be baptized is to ask for forgiveness of our sins and most of all, to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus so that we can share in His sonship.

Today, like John the Baptist, we are called to direct sinners to the Lord.  Today, it is very difficult to convince people of the truth because of relativism.  We are bombarded with all kinds of philosophy and reasoning.  There is so much information and so many viewpoints on any issue that many of us are more confused than ever after reading all the different views.  We no longer know what is right or wrong anymore.  When reasoning and all arguments fail, the sure way to get people to accept Jesus is to lead them to Him.  If they know Jesus and if they fall in love with Him, then they will be able to see everything from the perspective of our Lord in the scriptures.  So instead of seeking to reason out with those who are disagreeable, although, it still might be necessary at times to defend our faith, yet, the better approach is through the testimony of our lives and our faith. Only through a life of holiness and faith in our Lord, can we convince others to come to Him so that He can be the Lord of their lives.

For this reason, we must pray for sinners even as we seek to reach out to them in compassion and love.  Our Lady, in all her apparitions, constantly urged us to repent and pray for sinners.  If words cannot change them, then prayers will change their hearts through God’s grace.  It is not enough just to pray for physical health and material needs.  If the body is important, how much more important is the soul because that soul is destined for eternal life.  We need to pray for the salvation of souls so that united with the Lord, they are saved for eternity, not just for this world.  If God answers prayers for material and physical needs, more so, He will hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners.

Indeed, like John the Baptist, great is our joy when we bring a sinner to Jesus to be reconciled with God.  “The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This same joy I feel, and now it is complete.”  In bringing sinners back to God, we also save our own souls.  St James wrote, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  (Jms 5:19f)  Indeed, like John the Baptist, we must be conscious of our role as mediator to Jesus.  Once that is done, we should move aside and not be an obstacle for others to come to know the Lord.  With John the Baptist, we say, “I myself am not the Christ; I am the one who has been sent in front of him. He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.”

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore 

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Reflection from Lectio Divina

Both John the Baptist and Jesus indicated a new way to the crowds. But Jesus, after having adhered to the movement of John the Baptist, and after having been baptized by him, advanced a step ahead and created His own movement. He baptized  people  in the Jordan River when John the Baptist was also doing it. Both of them attracted the poor and abandoned people of Palestine by announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

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• Jesus, the new preacher, had a certain advantage over John the Baptist. He baptized more people and attracted more disciples. Thus, a tension arose between the disciples of John and those of Jesus, concerning the “purification,” that is, concerning the value of baptism. The disciples of John the Baptist experienced a certain envy and went to John to speak to him and informed him about the movement of Jesus.

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• John’s  response to his disciples is a beautiful response, which reveals his great spirit. John helps his disciples to see things more objectively. He uses three arguments: a) Nobody receives anything which is not given by God. If Jesus does such beautiful things, it is because he receives them from God (Jn 3:27). Instead of having envy, the disciples should feel joy. b) John reaffirms once again that he, John, is not the Messiah but only the precursor (Jn 3:28). c) In the end, he uses a comparison taken from the wedding feast.

At that time, in Palestine, on the day of the wedding, in the house of the bride, the so called “friends of the bridegroom” waited for the arrival of the bridegroom to present him to the bride. In this case, Jesus is the bridegroom, the crowd is the bride, John the friend of the bridegroom. John the Baptist says that, in the voice of Jesus, he recognizes the voice of the bridegroom and can present him to the bride, to the crowds. At this moment, the bridegroom, the people, leave the friend of the bridegroom and follow Jesus, because they recognize in Him the voice of their bridegroom! And for this reason the joy of John is great, “complete joy”. John wants nothing for himself! His mission is to present the bridegroom to the bride! The last sentence summarizes everything: “He must increase, I must decrease!” This statement is also the program for anyone  who follows Jesus.

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• At the end of the first century, in Palestine as well as in Asia Minor, where there were some communities of Jews, there were also people who had been in contact with John the Baptist or who had been baptized by him (Acts 19:3). Seen from outside, the movement of John the Baptist and that of Jesus were very similar to one another. Both of them announced the coming of the Kingdom (cf. Mt 3:1-2; 4:17). There must have been some confusion between the followers of John and those of Jesus. And because of this, the witness of John about Jesus was very important.

The four Gospels are concerned about transmitting the words of John the Baptist saying that he is not the Messiah. For the Christian communities, the Christian response, John’s response, “He must increase but I must decrease” was valid not only for the disciples of John at the time of Jesus, but also for the disciples of the Batiste or Cambric community of the end of the first century.

http://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-john-322-30

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Homily By Pastor Mark Driscoll

How odd would it be if you attended a wedding in which the star of the show was one of the groomsmen? Imagine if he demanded to be at the center of the photos, stood in front of the pastor for the ceremony, cut the cake, and had the first dance.

That would be incredibly awkward and wrong. Why? Because that is not his place.

Humility literally means, “to know your place.” Being humble requires knowing and accepting your place. None of us can say we are humble, but we should seek to say that we are pursuing humility by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Before Jesus started His ministry, John the Baptizer’s ministry began and got off to a rocket-ship launch. Before long, some of the people and leaders following John left him and started following Jesus instead. Some of John’s leaders were a bit miffed, so they brought their concerns to John. John’s response is amazing. In humility, he says that Jesus is the groom, the Church is the bride, and he was just the groomsman there to help – he’s not the star of the show.

The phenomenon of people leaving one ministry for another is nothing new. When someone transitions, some people immediately think it’s a bad thing and start to blame others. Sometimes the leader, ministry, or person leaving is tagged as bad.

John reveals that sometimes it is good for a person to transition from one ministry to another. Jesus and John the Baptizer were both good leaders with good ministries, and the people moving to Jesus’ ministry from John’s were seemingly good people. John rightly saw this as a good thing.

At the end of the day, people belong to God, not to the human leaders in a ministry. Sometimes, God moves people from one ministry to another because they are needed. This is precisely what John is saying – that the people were being sent by God to help Jesus, which is a good thing. This is a healthy model for handling transition in a godly way.

Are you more prone to encourage or criticize other ministries? If God calls you to move from one ministry to another, how can you do that in a healthy and godly way?

https://markdriscoll.org/he-must-increase-i-must-decrease/

Related:

More later….

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Bishops Describe Retreat With Father Raniero Cantalamessa

By Carol Zimmermann 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Although the weeklong retreat for U.S. Catholic bishops emphasized quiet reflection, several bishops spoke out on social media during the retreat and after it wrapped up Jan. 8 with positive reaction about it and to give shoutouts to the retreat leader, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who has preached to popes and top officials of the Roman Curia for nearly 40 years.

One bishop said listening to Father Cantalamessa was akin to being in the presence of the early Christian theologians. “Clear, intensely filled with the Holy Spirit, and all for the Kingdom of God,” Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Boulette of San Antonio said in a tweet. “Let us continue to pray for one another, our church and our world. A blessing to be here!”

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the official preacher of the papal household, delivers the homily to U.S. bishops during Mass Jan. 3 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Mundelein Seminary during the bishops’ Jan. 2-8 retreat at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, near Chicago. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, tweeted that the retreat leader was a “true instrument of the Lord” and that the Holy Spirit was at work during the retreat.

Bishop Lawrence T. Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, described Father Cantalamessa’s talks and homilies as “powerful and engaging.”

He tweeted that he was glad they had time to reflect and pray about their role as shepherds, stressing: “We must start there to be able to offer healing. I am taking this very seriously but feeling positive.”

Boston Auxiliary Bishop Mark W. O’Connell said it was a “truly blessed experience” to be on retreat with Father Cantalamessa and fellow U.S. bishops.

“The Holy Spirit was powerfully present, and I was quite moved,” he tweeted. He also thanked the pope for giving the bishops this gift.

Pope Francis suggested the bishops hold the retreat and offered the services of the 84-year-old Father Cantalamessa, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980. The time of prayer Jan. 2-8 at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake near Chicago was planned largely in response to last summer’s revelations of allegations of sex abuse that reached the highest levels of the U.S. church.

In a Jan. 8 column for Angelus News, the archdiocesan news outlet of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said the bishops’ retreat leader focused “our attention on the vocation and responsibility of bishops in this moment in the church.”

“We are praying together as a visible sign of our unity as bishops and our communion with the Holy Father. There is a collegial spirit here and a firm commitment to address the causes of the abuse crisis we face and continue the work of renewing the church,” he added.

The archbishop said Father Cantalamessa asked them to “trust more in the Holy Spirit. We need to have confidence that we are always living in God’s loving presence.”

Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services listens to the homily during Mass Jan. 3 in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception during the bishops’ Jan. 2-8 retreat at Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, near Chicago. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, wrote a few blog posts about the retreat with some reflection about the retreat leader’s message.

 

He said they heard about the need to emphasize in their preaching the fundamental belief in Jesus before delving into his message and teachings.

He also said Father Cantalamessa emphasized the need to root out “love of money” and all that it implies, including material possessions, honor or power.

“If this pursuit for ‘money’ needs to be rooted out from our Christian lives, then we need to embrace a true spirit of detachment,” the bishop wrote, adding that he would add more to that topic in the days ahead.

The theme of the U.S. bishops’ retreat was “the mission of the apostles and of their successors” drawing from Mark 3:14, which says Jesus “appointed 12 — whom he also named apostles — that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach.”

Reflections from the retreat do not seem to be about the crisis in particular, maybe for a reason.

In an email to Catholic News Service weeks before the retreat, Father Cantalamessa said he would “not talk about pedophilia and will not give advice about eventual solutions; that is not my task and I would not have the competence to do so.”

“The Holy Father asked for my availability to lead a series of spiritual exercises for the episcopal conference so that the bishops, far from their daily commitments, in a climate of prayer and silence and in a personal encounter with the Lord, can receive the strength and light of the Holy Spirit to find the right solutions for the problems that afflict the U.S. church today,” he added.

In a Jan. 9 column for the Chicago Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper, Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich said the pope’s intention for the retreat went beyond “this particular moment or challenge facing us bishops.”

“We are not leaving this retreat with all the answers to the important questions facing the church in these days,” he wrote, but he said the bishops now have a renewed sense of the importance of taking their cues from “Christ’s spirit rather than our own efforts.”

Another blessing from the week, he said, was being drawn closer to each other and to the pope.

“I have no doubt that just as the early church relied on Peter’s unique ministry to meet the challenges of the day, so we will draw strength and insight from our unity with his successor,” he said.

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim

Source:https://cnstopstories.com/2019/01/10/bishops-describe-their-retreat-as-inspiring-spirit-filled/

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Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, January 7, 2016 — Pray to God and he will give life

January 6, 2017

Christmas Weekday
Lectionary: 210

 Image may contain: 6 people, people sitting and indoor

Reading 1 1 JN 5:14-21

Beloved:
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia LK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

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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.

Image may contain: 10 people, indoor

Jesus at The Wedding Feast in Cana By Gerard David

Related:

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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,

Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

http://www.frtommylane.com/homilies/year_c/02.htm

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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07 JANUARY, 2017, Saturday, Weekday of Christmas Time
FIGHTING THE BATTLE AGAINST SIN THROUGH INTIMACY WITH THE LORD
SCRIPTURE READINGS: [1 JOHN 5:14-21; JOHN 2:1-11 ]

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.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

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https://www.catholic.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/

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Jesus dining with sinners
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‘What?’ you may react! God Incarnate in the Person of Jesus imperfect as a ‘family man?’ I thought Jesus is supposed to be God the Father’s Perfect Human (Son of Man) example to each of us.
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there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.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.

Read the rest:

http://talkofjesus.com/imperfect-family/