2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
16th January, 2022
Sunday Church at Home
during lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Joy of a Wedding Feast with Jesus and Mary Present.
The lay leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:
Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All reply: Amen
Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All reply: Blessed be God for ever
Leader: The scriptures often use the image of a wedding to describe the relationship between God and God’s people. Today we hear how it was at a wedding that Jesus gave a sign of God’s abundant love for us.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
Introduction to the reading: This part of the book of Isaiah contains the words of a prophet who lived after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon six centuries before Christ. Upon their return, they found their temple destroyed and the city of Jerusalem leveled. Still, the prophet sees a wonderful future for them because God loves them so much. Note the beautiful image he uses to describe that love.
A reading from the Book of Isaiah.
For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not rest,
until her vindication goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate;
but you shall be called My delight is in her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
The word of the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2a.2b-3.7-8.9-10a & c (R. cf. 3)
Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:
R/. Tell among all the peoples the wonders of the Lord.
O sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
O sing to the Lord; bless his name.
Proclaim his salvation day by day.
Tell among the nations his glory,
and his wonders among all the peoples.
Give the Lord, you families of peoples,
give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in holy splendour.
O tremble before him, all the earth.
Say to the nations, “The Lord is king.”
he will judge the peoples in fairness.
R/. Tell among all the peoples the wonders of the Lord.
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Introduction to the reading: Today and for the next few weeks, our second reading will be from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Corinth was a busy cosmopolitan seaport located in the central part of modern-day Greece. Here, Paul addresses problems his converts are experiencing as they live a Christian life in this non-Christian environment.
A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.
There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of working,
but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
for the common good.
To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,
to another the utterance of knowledge
according to the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit,
to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
to another the working of miracles,
to another prophecy,
to another the ability to distinguish between spirits,
to another various kinds of tongues,
to another the interpretation of tongues.
All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit,
who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
The word of the Lord.
God has called us through the Gospel,
to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: John 2:1-11
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
There was a marriage at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there;
Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples.
When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“O woman, what is that to you or to me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now six stone jars were standing there,
for the Jewish rites of purification,
each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.”
And they filled them up to the brim.
He said to them, “Now draw some out,
and take it to the steward of the feast.”
So they took it.
When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine
and did not know where it came from
(though the servants who had drawn the water knew),
the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Every one serves the good wine first;
and when people have drunk freely,
then the poor wine;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
This, the first of his signs,
Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory;
and his disciples believed in him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection on the Readings
The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.
Johnny Carson was a famous talk show host in the USA from the sixties to the nineties. Once he was interviewing an eight-year-old boy one night. The young man was asked to appear on the show because he had rescued two friends from a coal mine outside his hometown in West Virginia. As Johnny chatted with him, it became apparent that the boy was a Christian. Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday School. When the boy said he did, Johnny inquired, “What are you learning in Sunday School?” “Last week,” the boy replied, “our lesson was about how Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine.” The audience burst into laughter and applause. Keeping a straight face, Johnny asked, “And what did you learn from that story?” The boy squirmed in his chair. It was apparent he hadn’t thought about this. But then he lifted up his face and said, “If you’re going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus and Mary!”
And that is precisely the message of today’s Gospel: make sure you invite Jesus and Mary wherever you live and wherever you go. In other words, today’s Gospel lesson is about the sufficiency of Jesus in our lives and the power of Jesus’ Mother’s intercession.
The readings from Isaiah and John both refer to marriage and they fit like hand in a glove.
Isaiah is talking to a people in exile. Israel has been devastated because they didn’t trust God to care for them, so they broke the covenant with God and made bad political alliances with pagan nations against the Babylonians. So, the Babylonians invaded and destroyed Jerusalem. Then they took the leaders, artists and craftspeople into exile, leaving the poorest and most fragile behind to tend the land. It was a common ancient practice: take the heart of the nation into slavery, away from their beloved land. Break their spirit.
Today we would look at the political situation during the time of Isaiah with a different perspective. We would probably say: “God could do better than get involved in human affairs. Look where that leads. God should keep a distance, or just be satisfied being Creator – even though that would have its frustrations as well. Maybe God could be our Judge, come back at the End to pass judgment on how we did. That certainly would reduce the feelings of betrayal and the number of times God might say to Israel and to us, ‘How could you?!’”
But God seems blinded by love for us. And what a risky love that is! Some could say about God’s loving relationship with us humans, “It will never last. Humans are too fickle, they’ll go off and do their own thing, again and again. They are like exiles in a foreign land.
Maybe God could use what some of us have had – a wise elder – to tell God, “You’re going to have your heart broken again and again. Is it worth it? Give up on them!”
But the prophet Isaiah speaks on God’s behalf today, to exiles, broken and dispirited in a foreign country. The prophet remembers the derogatory names people called the exiles” “Forsaken,” “Desolate.” But just as married couples have pet names for one another, the prophet says God will have names for Israel. No longer, “Forsaken.” No longer, “Desolate.” God, like an ancient bridegroom, is going to claim a spouse who has been living far away.
God doesn’t give up on us when we go a-wandering. When we make foolish choices. When our faith loses its enthusiasm. God’s passion for us doesn’t cool, despite our foolish and sinful ways. God keeps coming back to us with forgiveness. God keeps seeking intimacy with us humans, to save us from ourselves, to fetch us back from whatever exile we have wandered off into.
We do mess things up – certainly Israel did, again and again, even killing the prophets God had sent to help them. But God can’t be shaken off easily. How do we know?
Because Jesus arrives at a wedding feast in Cana. This isn’t just a wedding of an unknown couple in a small village, whose location is lost to history. Jesus’ presence at the wedding and what he does there, announces that the long-awaited Messiah has arrived. The bridegroom has come to claim his bride. Jesus is the host at the banquet, and he provides a super-abundance of wine – over 500 litres of wine!
It is as the prophets promised. God is an extravagant Lover and at the end time would provide a banquet with plenty of food, choice, rich wine. That superabundance of wine is a symbol for us. We might have travelled a “long distance,” or a short one, on our own into exile from God. But we have returned to this wedding feast to again meet our God – the Daring and Persistent, Lover God. A God who doesn’t give up on us. A God always welcoming us back. A God who always offers us a new beginning, again and again. A God who calls us “My Delight.”
Try that name on for size, for a day – or a lifetime. No matter what happens, no matter what standards we use to measure ourselves, we can hear God’s loving voice calling out to us, “My Delight.”
I know, by any usual standards of measurement, that doesn’t make sense. Why would THE Supreme Being call us ‘My Delight’? But in Jesus, God does call us ‘My Delight’. What a compliment that is to our sense of self. The consequence is that it allows us to be in relationship with God. God also reaches out to our neighbour with the same love we have received. So we too show care respect and dignity to our neighbour.
From today’s I Corinthians reading:
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
We need a variety of gifts in the Church. How boring it would be if we all had the same gift or gifts. And how deprived we would be! Paul is reminding us of our God who sees our needs and addresses them through the gifts of the different members of the Christian community.
So we ask ourselves:
- What gift has God given me?
- How do I use that gift to serve others?
- How am I a sign of God’s active presence in the world?
Prayer of the Faithful
Let us bring our prayers to God our Father, confident in his abundant love for his people.
We pray for Pope Francis and the bishops:
that they may proclaim to the world the abundance of God’s love for all creation.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for the places of our world where there is conflict and division:
that the way to peace and reconciliation may be found.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for all those who are preparing to be married in the coming year:
that they may grow in love for each other and for God.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for those who face problems in their marriage and family life:
that they may be strengthened in faith and love, and may know our continuing love and support for them.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for our connect groups as they start the new year:
that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit to grow in love and wisdom in their service of the Lord.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for members of our families and friends who have died and those whose anniversaries occur about this time.
LORD HEAR US
We pray for Michael Davies who died during the week.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.
Leader: Let us pray our prayer for MARRIAGE:
God our Father,
we give you thanks for the gift of marriage:
the bond of life and love, and the font of the family.
The love of husband and wife fills the world
with a spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ,
for his Church.
The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana
at the request of the Blessed Mother.
May your Son, through the intercession of Mary,
pour out upon us a new measure
of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.
May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers
in the lives of their children.
we ask that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendour of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,
We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.
By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.
My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul at least spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I actually receive you. Amen.
Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:
All say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
God of wonders,
at Cana in Galilee
you revealed your glory in Jesus Christ
and summoned all humanity
to life in him.
Show to your people gathered on this day
your transforming power
and give us a foretaste
of the wine you keep
for the age to come.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.
The leader says:
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.