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DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU: 2nd ORDINARY SUNDAY [Year C] – John 2:1-11

Jakarta, 20 January 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

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Posted by on January 20, 2019 in MARY, MISCELLANY

 

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THE FIRST OF HIS SIGNS

THE FIRST OF HIS SIGNS

(A biblical reflection on the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 20 January 2019)

Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11  

First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalms: Psalm 96:1-3,7-10; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11  

The Scripture Text

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with His disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:1-11 RSV) 

A wedding feast is a biblical symbol for the Kingdom of God, therefore, the Old Testament sometimes pictures God as a groom and the people of Israel as His beloved bride. John may have had this imagery in mind when he wrote about the event in today’s Gospel.

In this story, there are six stone jars of water the Jews use for ceremonial washings, each with a capacity of about twenty gallons. Some very strict Jews followed a religious law requiring them to wash their hands in a certain way before they ate. With their fingers pointing upwards, they poured water over their hands and let it drip to their wrists. Then, with fingers pointing downward, they poured water so it ran from the wrists to the tip of the fingers. They repeated this ritual before each course of the meal because they believed it was an outward sign of holiness. Hands not cleansed in this way were ritually unclean.

Because wine was both a symbol of joy and an important part of every meal in first-century Palestine, the bride and groom must have been pretty embarrassed when they ran out of it. Jesus may have been at least partially responsible for this shortage if He brought some of His uninvited apostles to the party with Him. This would explain why Mary, herself a guest, was so concerned about the shortage of wine.

The six water jars may stand for the special covenant relationship the Jewish people enjoyed with God. Since the number seven was symbolic of perfection, six jars of water meant the covenant was not perfect and had to be transformed by Jesus into an ideal relationship with God in His long-awaited Kingdom.

Although Mary – His mother – is a prominent figure in this story, the evangelist never calls her by name in his Gospel. At the wedding (and as he hangs on the cross), Jesus simply calls her “Woman”, and address that sounds disrespectful to us because there is no precise English translation for the Greek word the Gospel uses here. We may also translate this word as “madam” or “lady” but these titles are much too cold.

Finally, John never uses the word “miracles” in his Gospel but profess “signs” instead. Today’s reading ends when he says the water turned into wine was the first of the signs Jesus performed. John records only seven signs in his Gospel.

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 272-273.)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, today’s Gospel reading gives us a marvelous image of the loving relationship we have with You through Jesus. He has come to claim us as Your own, and He is generous in the gifts he brings. There is nothing mean about Jesus in the story: not a small and unimportant thing, but gallons of first class wine.  Thank You, Father. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 18 January 2019 

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MANY TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS SAT WITH JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 2:13-17 – 1st ORDINARY WEEK: Saturday, 19 January 2019

Jesus dines with tax collectors, a sector of society despised as social pariahs. According to the strict law of the Old Testament, commence with such public sinners made an individual ritually unclean. It was guilt by association with a vengeance.

Jesus cracks open the status quo as He draws people into the Kingdom who, until now, had been excluded. Jesus cleansed, healed and changed an assortment of outsiders such as Levi (Matthew).

Ritual uncleanness may have had some logic when ritual effectiveness was a function of a devotee’s personal holiness and the power to forgive was seen to be lodged in a remote God. Now, however, the power to forgive which moves among us is the person of Jesus. He is Messiah – our abiding agent of reconciliation and the source of liturgical power.

Jesus is more than an example of kindness. He is the very energy of God reconciling us to the Father.

Jakarta, 19 January 2019

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PSALM 66:20

Jakarta, 19 January 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE HEALING OF A PARALYTIC

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 2:1-12 – 1st ORDINARY WEEK: Friday, 18 January 2019 

Jesus begins to clash with entrenched religious power. While Jesus was at home (His own?) the faith of friends precipitated a paralyzed man’s cure.

One of the strands woven into Mark’s Gospel is a polemic against an image of Jesus as one of many wandering miracle workers. In this reading Jesus cures the man to prove to the incredulous scribes that a more profound and significant healing had taken place in the forgiveness of sin. “So that you will know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins, I command you, rise and walk” (Mark 2:10).

The miracles were evidences of the spiritual regeneration at work in the Kingdom of God and not vice versa.

Once we are reconciled with God and others, pieces of our life begin to fall into place.

Jakarta, 18 January 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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PSALM 147:11

Jakarta, 18 January 2019

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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THE CLEANSING OF A LEPER

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 1:40-45 – 1st ORDINARY WEEK: Thursday, 17 January 2019 

A leper, banished by Law, is cleansed by Jesus as the townspeople start promote not Jesus’ teaching but His miracles.

One can become enticed by a magical view of faith that divorces miracle from message and searches exclusively for extraordinary phenomena while failing to see the work of God in the broad movements of ordinary life. The eventual result is a spiritual drift from a God seen to be inaccessible.

Fidelity requires an effort to integrate faith with our daily experience to avoid a two-track existence where religion shrinks into either a quick fix for intractable situations or a miraculous punctuation of an otherwise agnostic life style.

Faithfulness is much more than the avoidance of heresy. It is the cultivation of an adult spiritual life.

Jakarta, 17 January 2019

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Posted by on January 17, 2019 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2019

 

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