Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the wonderful works of the Lord, which He had performed before all for the first time in the flesh, as the Gospel passage today related to us the story of the miracle at the wedding ceremony held in Cana. I am sure that all of us are familiar with this miracle, how the Lord Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine, when the wedding couple ran out of wine for their very important day.

In order to better understand the significance of this miracle, we must understand the context and historical importance of what had happened at that time. A wedding ceremony is a very important event in the life of the person, according to the traditions of the Jewish people, and in fact, a wedding involved not just the two persons who were getting married, but rather, the whole community, as everyone rejoiced together when a man and a woman is joined in sacred matrimony.

On such an important day, for the wedding couple to run out of wine is tantamount to a massive embarrassment that can affect them for the rest of their lives. As the bride and the groom and their respective families were usually in charge of the celebration and festivities, and all the details with regards to the wedding ceremonies, running out of wine can be interpreted as a sign of misfortune, disgrace and lack of divine favour for the marriage.

That was why the wedding couple in that Cana’s wedding was likely to be worried and distraught, as their own reputation and families were under grave threat. Thus, they sought the help of the Lord, by the help of His mother, Mary, to whom they sought for help. The Lord Jesus was reluctant to help them, as it was not yet His time to reveal Himself before the people, but His mother Mary helped the wedding couple, by asking the servants to listen to the Lord’s words and obey Him.

In the end, the Lord commanded the servants to fill up jars of water used for purification purpose, and then bring some of the water to the steward of the wedding. Miraculously, the water has been turned into wine, by the power of the Lord. This was the first miracle that He performed before the people openly, and the wedding couple was indeed saved from the humiliation and shame that they could have endured had the Lord not miraculously turned the water into wine.

Last week, as we begun the current season of Ordinary Time, we had the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which marked the official beginning of His earthly ministry, when He revealed Himself to the greater community. And today we heard of the moment of His first miraculous deed among the people. There were many more miracles He was to perform among the people, healing the sick, casting out demons and evil spirits, feeding multitudes of people miraculously, and many more.

This is the fulfilment of what the Lord had promised to His people through the prophets, particularly the prophet Isaiah, who has spoken widely on the coming of the salvation in the Messiah Who was to come. And all of these have been fulfilled in Christ, the Messiah Who was promised, the Lord Jesus, Who came into the midst of His beloved people, performing God’s many wonderful works and miracles. And He called many disciples and followers to walk in His footsteps, to continue the good works He had begun.

The Lord had mercy on His people, because He saw how despicable the state they were in, and how great their sufferings had become, all because of their own sins and disobedience. He wants to reconcile them to Himself, to forgive them from their sins and their disobedience, because of His enduring and boundless love for each and every one of us. He showed His compassion when He decided to help the wedding couple at Cana, even though it was not yet His time to reveal Himself through His miracles. Yet, He was moved and did the miracle because of His love for them.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth spoke of the various gifts that God has bestowed upon each and every one of us, and the calling which He had made to us, to embrace those gifts and talents, which have been given to us for a purpose. And that purpose is for the glorification of God as well as for the benefit and good of our fellow mankind. For God’s works in this world are not yet completed and His mission for us is still yet in progress.

He gave His followers and disciples a very important commandment before He ascended into heaven. This commandment is that all of them must go forth and be witnesses and preachers of the Good News and the truth that He has revealed to the world. They are to go forth proclaiming the Lord’s truth and baptise peoples of all the nations in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. And thus this has been the mission entrusted to the Church, that is all of us the faithful people of God, to the end of time.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, to this end, the Lord Himself had said to His disciples, that He would give them the Helper, the Holy Spirit of God Who will guide them and teach them what they needed to know. And thus the Spirit granted us various gifts, for our respective missions and roles as members of the Church of God. We cannot do everything on our own, and no matter how much we try, there are always a lot of work that needs to be done.

Some of us have been called to a greater ministry of the diaconate, priesthood and the episcopate, dedicating ourselves to the service of God. These are those of us who have been called to the consecrated life, dedicating our whole lives and energies to serve both God and His people. But it does not mean that if we are not a deacon, or a priest or a bishop, then we are less important or have less responsibilities or things to do. In fact, the laity are still called to a great purpose and responsibility as members of the same Church of God.

The priests of God serve the whole Church, ministering to us all and celebrating the Sacraments of the Church. But without the support of the laity, those who have devoted their lives as priest, deacons and bishops will have a very hard time in fulfilling the good works and missions of the Church. The laity’s support in various ways are important, as I have mentioned earlier, in how we have been given many gifts, unique to each one of us.

For example, in those who have been called to the married life and creation of families, as symbolically mentioned in our Gospel passage today of the Wedding at Cana, we have a very important role to play in the Church, as the good and faithful Christian families are the basic units and pillars of the Church. It is in the family that the children learn first of the faith, and practice that same faith. If the family is not functioning as it should have, or diverged from the true faith, then we may end up having people losing their faith, especially those who are young among us.

And to others have also been given various other gifts, as administrators, volunteers and advocates, giving our respective talents to benefit God’s people. That is how the Church is able to reach out to so many people and to so many communities, by the tireless and numerous contributions of its members, both that of the laity and the priests alike. And now, we are also called to do the same with our own lives, if we have not done so thus far.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to reflect on our own lives, and how each and everyone of us can contribute, no matter how small it is, to the whole good works of the Church, fulfilling the mission that God has entrusted to us, and commanded us to do. Just as the Lord began His first miracle at that wedding in Cana, fulfilling the will of His Father and loving God’s people, then we should also begin our own ministry, in loving God and in loving our fellow men, if we have not already done so.

Let us all pray, that in the depth of our hearts and minds, God may reveal to us and that we may discover and discern carefully what we need to do as faithful members of His Church and as His followers and disciples in our present day world, in our respective communities and families. Let us all give what we can give to serve the Lord and His people, using our own talents and abilities for the good of all people. Let us not hesitate any longer but be courageous in living our faith from now on.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey of life, and may He give us the strength to be missionaries of faith, in contributing our talents and abilities for the missions and works of His Church, from now on. May God always bless us all and our good works and endeavours, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

John 2 : 1-11

At that time, three days after Jesus called Nathanael, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also invited to the wedding with His disciples. When all the wine provided for the celebration had been served, and they had run out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what concern is that to you and Me? My hour has not yet come.” However His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Nearby were six stone water jars, set there for ritual washing as practiced by the Jews; each jar could hold twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them to the brim. Then Jesus said, “Now draw some out and take it to the steward.” So they did. The steward tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing from where it had come; for only the servants who had drawn the water knew. So, he called the bridegroom to tell him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and when people have drunk enough, he serves that which is ordinary. Instead you have kept the best wine until the end.”

This miraculous sign was the first, and Jesus performed it at Cana in Galilee. In this way He let His glory appear, and His disciples believed in Him.

Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 12 : 4-11

There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same. There is diversity of ministries, but the Lord is the same. There is diversity of works, but the same God works in all.

The Spirit reveals His presence in each one with a gift that is also a service. One is to speak with wisdom, through the Spirit. Another teaches, according to the same Spirit. To another is given faith, in which the Spirit acts; to another, the gift of healing, and it is the same Spirit.

Another works miracles, another is a prophet, another recognises what comes from the good or evil spirit; another speaks in tongues, and still another interprets what has been said in tongues. And all of this, is the work of the one and only Spirit, who gives to each one, as he so desires.

Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 9-10a and 10c

Sing to YHVH a new song, sing to YHVH, all the earth! Sing to YHVH, praise His Name.

Proclaim His salvation, day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Give to YHVH, you families of nations, give to YHVH glory and strength. Give to YHVH the glory due His Name.

Worship YHVH with holy celebrations; stand in awe of Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, He will judge the peoples with justice.

Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 62 : 1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, for Jerusalem I will not keep silent, until her holiness shines like the dawn and her salvation flames like a burning torch. The nations will see your holiness and all the kings your glory. You will be called by a new name which the mouth of YHVH will reveal.

You will be a crown of glory in the hand of YHVH, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will you be named Forsaken; no longer will your land be called Abandoned; but you will be called My Delight and your land Espoused. For YHVH delights in you and will make your land His spouse.

As a young man marries a virgin, so will your Builder marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 65 : 1-2, 16

Jubilate Deo, universa terra : psalmum dicite Nomini Ejus : venite et audite, et narrabo vobis, omnes qui timetis Deum, quanta fecit Dominus animae meae, Alleluja.

 

English translation

Shout with joy to God, all the earth, sing all of you a psalm to His Name. Come and hear, and I will tell you, all who fear God, what great things the Lord had done for my soul. Alleluia.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Oblata, Domine, munera sanctifica : nosque a peccatorum nostrorum maculis emunda. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Sanctify, o Lord, the gifts we offer, and purify us from the stains of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

John 2 : 7, 8, 9, 10-11

Dicit Dominus : Implete hydrias aqua et ferte architriclino. Cum gustasset architriclinus aquam vinum factam, dicit sponso : Servasti bonum vinum usque adhuc. Hoc signum fecit Jesus primum coram discipulis Suis.

 

English translation

The Lord said, “Fill the waterpots with water, and carry to the chief steward of the feast.” When the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, he said to the bridegroom, “You have kept the good wine until now.” This first miracle Jesus had done before His disciples.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Augeatur in nobis, quaesumus, Domine, Tuae virtutis operatio : ut divinis vegetati sacramentis, ad eorum promissa capienda, Tuo munere praeparemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

May the working of Your power, we beg You, o Lord, be increased in us, that, being nourished by divine sacraments, we may by Your grace be prepared to obtain that which they promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Second Sunday after Epiphany (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 January 2019 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 2 : 1-11

In illo tempore : Nuptiae factae sunt in Cana Galilaeae : et erat Mater Jesu ini. Vocatus est autem et Jesus, et discipuli Ejus ad nuptias. Et deficiente vino, dicit Mater Jesu ad eum : Vinum non habent.

Et dicit ei Jesus : Quid mihi et Tibi est, mulier? Nondum venit hora Mea. Dicit Mater Ejus ministris : Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. Erant autem ibi lapidae hydriae sex positae secundum purificationem Judaeorum, capientes singulae metretas binas vel ternas.

Dicit eis Jesus : Implete hydrias aqua. Et impleverunt eas usque ad summum. Et dicit eis Jesus : Haurite nunc, et ferte architriclino. Et tulerunt. Ut autem gustavit architriclinus aquam vinum favtam, et non sciebat unde esset, ministri autem sciebant, qui hauserant aquam : vocat sponsum architriclinus, et dicit ei : Omnis homo primum bonum vinum ponit : et cum inebriati fuerint, tunc id, quod deterius est. Tu autem servasti bonum vinum usque adhuc.

Hoc fecit initium signorum Jesus in Cana Galilaeae : et manifestavit gloriam suam, et crediderunt in eum discipuli Ejus.

 

English translation

At that time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus was also invited, and His disciples as well, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what is it to Me and to you? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the waiters, “Whatsoever He shall say to you, all of you do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece.

Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus said to them, “Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast.” And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water. The chief steward called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man at first set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This is the beginning of miracles that Jesus had done in Cana of Galilee, and He manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.