Second Sunday Ordinary Time

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we hear St. John’s account of Jesus’ first recorded public miracle, the changing of the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. We’ve heard and read so much about this particular miracle and the significance of all of the aspects of this occasion that can teach us so much. We can learn about the importance of marriage in the eyes of God – so important that Jesus performs His first public miracle in relation to it. We can learn how Jesus shows us that participating in joyful religious and secular celebrations is part of being fully human. We can learn the axiom, ‘saving the best for last.’
But, at the heart of this Gospel passage is this message;
“Do whatever He tells you.”
These are the words Mary uses when she speaks with the servants at the feast, indicating that Jesus knows what He is doing and to simply listen, and trust what He instructs them to do.
“Do whatever He tells you.”
How often have we heard people say, ‘if only God would just clearly show me what to do’; how often have we said ourselves, ‘Jesus, just tell me what you want!’ Have we really been open to hearing the answer to that demand?
If we think that God has never told us how to respond in any given situation, then we haven’t spent much time reading Sacred Scripture. All of the law and the prophets of the Old Testament, all of salvation history recorded in the Old and New Testaments, point to God’s desire to have all of us in right relationship with Him. To do that, we also have to be in right relationship with each other. Jesus explains this quite clearly when, later in his ministry, he will tell a scribe that the two greatest commandments are total love of God and loving one’s neighbour as one’s self. Throughout His public ministry of teaching, healing, and miracles, Jesus will give concrete examples of what this love really is, what it really means, and how we can grow in it.
He tells us all the time, if only we take the time to listen and then follow.
‘Do whatever He tells you.’
He tells us how to respond when we are faced with difficult choices in life. He tells us how to treat each other. He tells us how to act as people of God. He tells us how to live out our relationships with God and others. He tells us how to gain eternal life. All we need to do is prayerfully read Scripture, perhaps asking for assistance in understanding fully its meaning, We need to pray, and we need to see how the Gospel is reflected in our daily circumstances. Then, we need to act according to what we have been told by Christ. That’s what we mean when we talk about discernment; coming to an understanding of what God wants us to do in life. The truth is, if we have seriously spent any time in reading Sacred Scripture, in authentic prayer, and in reflecting on how the Gospel fits into our daily lives, then on some level, we already know what God wants us to do or how Jesus wants us to respond.
We might be afraid or worry that what He tells us is not comfortable for us to hear; maybe He is asking us to do something that won’t be popular, or that demands we put our own wants aside for the benefit of someone else.
The real difficulty, it seems for us, is being willing to do whatever He tells us, and actually carrying though.
For that, we need to rely on His Spirit, and gifts like courage, wisdom, and understanding, gifts that we can receive in trust if we are open to receiving them – and this being open is also something that He ’tells’ us.
It’s not terribly clear in this gospel passage whether or not Jesus was known personally by the servants at the feast. Regardless, they simply followed His instructions. His directions weren’t complicated; they were very straightforward. The work wasn’t particularly heavy, nor did it appear to be terribly time-consuming. The servants simply did what He told them to do.
Here is a key insight for us into their discernment; they knew it was Jesus that was telling them what to do. His mother, Mary, had pointed their attention to her son, and left everything in His hands. She went to Him on behalf of others, asked Him for a favour, and left it at that. The words of Mary to these servants should be the same words we hear from those leading us along our own faith journeys.
In His Word; in His Teaching handed down to us; in His Sacraments; in prayer; He is always telling us what we need to do. He points to our love of God, and our relationship to each other, particularly those around us who need the love of God the most – the poor, the neglected, the suffering – those who are around us everywhere, every day, all the time.
These should be the words we recall every moment of every day; words we should share with each other, as we all journey together toward that ultimate heavenly feast.
“Do whatever He tells you.”

gospel procession day 4

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!