Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: “Do whatever he tells you.”
By: Deacon Jim
Homily for Sunday January 16 2022
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96; 1 Cor 12:4-11; John 2:1-11
The church has now begun what we call Ordinary Time. We use Ordinary Time to separate the special seasons of Christmas and Easter, Advent and Lent. Ordinary Times we follow the life of Jesus as he goes about proclaiming the gospel of God, beginning, as we hear in today’s gospel, at a wedding feast in Cana, and continuing on to Jerusalem, where he will give up his life for this gospel he preaches.
Jesus’ baptism, which we recognized and celebrated last weekend, marked the beginning of his public ministry. We heard that last weekend when the sky opened up and the voice of God came down and said: This is my beloved son, in whom I and well pleased.” In essence, our ministry too begins at baptism, as I said in my homily last weekend, when a priest or deacon anointed you and me with the Oil of Sacred Chrism and said: “He anoints you as priest, prophet, and king.” With those words we are expected to be active participants in the faith; to carry on the mission of Jesus Christ in our part of the world.
In today’s gospel, Jesus and his family have been invited to a wedding. The wedding reception is going well, and then the wine runs out. Jesus’ mother tells him to do something. She ignores Jesus’ objection and simply tells the waiter: “Do whatever he says.” The servers bring Jesus six large jars and fill them with 20-30 gallons of water each, which Jesus then turns into wine. And not just any wine. We hear the headwaiter, without knowing where the wine came from, say: “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when the people have drunk freely, an inferior one, but you have saved the good wine until now.”
Why did Jesus do this? Why did he perform this miracle? Let me give you two reasons. The first is pretty obvious. He did it because his mother asked him to. The second may not be quite so obvious. Jesus did this miracle to help the bride and groom on their wedding day. To run out of wine would have been a major embarrassment not only to the bride and groom but also to the parents.
In one of the alternative readings for last week, from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is talking about Jesus. He says simply: “He went about doing good.” Peter knows Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Peter has seen the miracles – lepers cured and the blind see. And what does he say about Jesus? “He went about doing good.” This simple sentence condenses the gospels; it condenses Jesus commandment to love God and love your neighbor. This is our theology. It’s not about miracles. It’s about living our lives every day doing as much good as we can for as many people as we can. Let’s explore that a little more.
Last Wednesday, the trustees of our Pastoral Network, the Family of the Holy Cross, met to talk about the progress we’ve made in coming together as a family. Our invited guest for the evening was Deacon Frank Berning, who is the Director of the Office of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese. Frank was impressed by how much we have already accomplished – the great success of our Christmas Concert, the melding of our individual bulletins into one Family of the Holy Cross bulletin. He was so impressed by the bulletin, by the way, that he took several copies back to Albany to show other pastoral networks what can be done.
Near the end of the meeting one of the trustees asked what more we might do. He said it’s very clear. Each parish and the network as a whole, has to continue the mission of Christ. In other words, go about doing good. Everything we do in the church and on our knees in prayer is to draw us closer to God so we can go into the community and continue Jesus’ mission of doing good for others, which is just another way of saying to love the others in your life.
In our gospel, Mary said to the waiters: “Do whatever he tells you.” This is what we are called to do – what Jesus tells us to do. As I said last weekend, we are meant to be active participants in following Jesus and spreading the gospel to all that we meet. It is not about the big miracles. I can’t change water into wine and I can’t make the blind see or the lame walk. But I can do the small everyday miracles that affect people’s lives. And so can you.
Let me tell you a story. I still have a small engineering office in Ilion. There is a man – I don’t know his name – who walks around the area most mornings. He walks slowly and his head is usually down, avoiding eye contact. One day I took the time to simply said good morning to him. Every day since then, he gives me a smile and says good morning back to me. I have wondered why that seemed to be important to him – such a simple thing. Perhaps it was simply seeing him as a human being, one of God’s children, when too many people simply walked by and ignored him.
It’s not about the miracles. It is simply about doing good to others. It’s not so much what we do inside the walls of the church. It is about what we do when we leave the church. To everyone you see today, do them good. That’s enough of a miracle.