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HOW TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS ...

Father Francis's picture
Second Week of Ordinary Time

John 2:1-12

At the wedding feast of Cana Jesus took some plain ordinary water and turned it into quality wine. How could anyone in a matter of seconds, and without grapes, produce an excellent vintage?

Such a question, however, did not concern Saint John, the evangelist, who was interested in not how He did it, but why. Most of the miracles, which the Gospel writers attribute to Jesus, had a logical and practical explanation. He healed the sick because they were in pain. He fed the hungry because after three days of following Him they were literally starving. Out of His great love and compassion for the mourners He raised the dead to life, and restored them to their grieving relatives.

But John understood the events at Cana to be what he called the miracle of transformation, a sign from Jesus that he was aware of His future role of doing His Father's will here on Earth.

It was, also, a positive response to His Mother's request, "Son, they have no wine." He was acting for the benefit of the married couple, saving them from embarrassment, and revealing His affection and respect for His Mother. It reveals to us just how powerful Mary is in His eyes. If we want Jesus to help us, perhaps we should make our request to Him through His mother.

What does this narrative tell us about Jesus? He was at this wedding as an invited guest. I think He wanted to be there which would not have been typical of first century prophets and holy men. Most of them were austere, keeping themselves apart from the social life of the community. John the Baptist lived in the desert, separated from the ordinary events of everyday life, but not Jesus. He was a welcome guest at festive occasions.

His turning the water into wine was a sign of His divine power. In the future, He would turn frowns into smiles, despair into hope, fear into faith and sinners into saints - and at the end of His time on Earth, bread and wine into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and death into life.

Many of us have experienced life-changing moments because of the little acts of thoughtfulness and kindness, by people we know and by strangers. A newspaper reporter told of how one late night, when the streets were covered with ice and snow, his car stalled in a high-crime area of a city. All the service stations were closed and he didn't know what to do. Then he saw two young black men walking towards him. He was frightened. But one of them explained that they had driven by and seen his predicament. Rather than turning around on the ice, they had stopped and walked back. They helped him to get his car started and went on their way. The reporter ended his column by saying that he had never before been so confronted by, and convicted of his own racial prejudice.

The main point of this story is that all of us can perform similar acts of kindness. We cannot turn water into wine, but we can do things that will have similar effects. By using simple and friendly gestures we can convey to people our concern for their welfare, and a willingness to help.

Holy Spirit, inspire us to give a word of praise, a kind look, a complimentary remark or practical help at just the right moment to dispel sadness, misery and embarrassment. With Your help we can follow Jesus' example.

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