Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jan. 20, 2012 (2C)
By Fr. John Foley, S. J.
Podcast of the Sunday Readings
Sunday Bible Study Questions
Lecturas y Comentarios
New American Bible
Prayer of the Hours
A new season of the Church year is upon us. Yes, “Ordinary Time” has replaced the Christmas season.
Maybe we could talk about seasons of the Church year for a moment.
Last Sunday climaxed the stories of Jesus’ birth, baptism and early life. Now it is time to hear about his work as a full adult, as the man who was also God’s Word. That is the content of “Ordinary Time,” in spite of the season’s mundane name.
How long will Ordinary Time last? It will include every Sunday that is not in the Advent/ Christmas season, the Lent/Easter season, or any other special celebration.
There are three years worth of Ordinary Time Masses, with the clever names, A, B, and C. In each of these years one particular Gospel writer is featured. This is year C, and we will hear the Gospel according to Luke. Before it each Sunday the following words will be proclaimed: “A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke.”
Before we begin with Luke, however, the Church is giving us a brief transition this Sunday, a preparation for hearing the narrative of Jesus’ life according to Luke. This Sunday is meant to console us and raise our expectations concerning the Messiah who is now a man.
So, here we go. In the First Reading Isaiah says he will not be quiet until Jerusalem is set free, till it “shines forth like the dawn.” He will keep preaching even though the land is “desolate,” and the people are “forsaken,” thirsting for hope and for good news. If you look around, that is us.
What is it that Isaiah preaches?
That God is going to give his people a new name. They will be called “My delight.” Their land will be known by the name “Espoused.” The Lord will marry them and bring forth abundance from their lands. Isaiah is repeating the promise God had made in the midst of trouble, a promise that is irrevocable: “I will be your God and you will be my people.”
Can you hear that promise?
It is repeated in the Gospel, John 2:1-11, but in a much different way. Just as the Father can change a forsaken people into ones that delight him, so Jesus is able to transform water into the very best wine—a symbol of making our lives into his delight.
It is a wonderful image of people who are fresh out of hope and need to drink of the promise and its satisfaction. This is the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, and the wine has run out. Only God in Jesus can supply the real thing.
Mary says simply to Jesus, “They have no wine.” In other words, the human race has no real life left in it.
Jesus replies that it is not yet “his time.” That is, his public life has not yet begun. He will have to preach, heal, suffer, die and rise again. But Mary knows him too well. She says to the servants, do whatever he tells you.
Mary does not take seriously all the reasons why God’s promise cannot be fulfilled at this time. She knows that the people need the full, rich wine of life, which is love, and she trusts her son.
This Sunday we begin to watch Jesus make us into “his delight.” Let us watch.