January 24, 2019 – “They Have No Wine”

Apologies for the delay but please find below my homily from this past weekend. I pray that it reaches you in such a way that your empty jars are filled with the finest wine our Heavenly Father has to offer. Peace and Blessings.


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Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C – January 20, 2019

Is 62:1-5, Resp. Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10, 1 Cor 12:4-11, Jn 2:1-11

Today, on this second Sunday of Ordinary Time, we are invited through the Word of God to visit Cana in Galilee. In it, the great miracle occurred, the first public one that Jesus came to perform. With it, he started his ministry to change the world and it started out simply enough by Mary telling her son, “They have no wine.”

And with those words, Mary speaks a truth about our lives, a truth that at some point we all experience. There comes a day when our wine gives out. The glass is empty. The party is over. On that day, life may seem empty and dry. Nothing is growing within us. Our world may be cold and joyless. We lose the purpose of what we are to do with our lives and we are living less than fully alive.

Mary’s words hold before us some serious questions and wonderings. We might ask ourselves, where has the wine of my life given out? What relationships have run dry? What parts of me remain empty?

Each one of us could probably tell a story about the day our wine gave out.  It might be about the death of a loved one or the loss of a friendship or marriage. Some will speak about their search for love and acceptance. Some will describe their search for the meaning and purpose of their life. Others will tell of their guilt, disappointments, or regrets. Many of the stories will be about the fear of what is or what might be. Stories of failure and self-doubt abound. I am a prime example of someone with self-doubt and the struggles I had during my first year of Diaconate formation (but I will leave that for another day). The storyline of unanswered prayer, doubts, or questions is known by most, but they are not all stories from the past. Some of us are living those stories today. I am sure that there are many of us who are present here this afternoon, including myself, that have a story to tell. Stories that have had a deep impact on our lives and the lives of others.

Behind each of our stories though is the hope and desire for a marriage made in heaven, if you will. When we hear the story of the wedding at Cana, we are not simply drawn in as guests and spectators, but as participants, as a bride or groom, seeking union, intimacy, and wholeness.

Despite our best efforts, good intentions, and hard work, however, it seems that we are constantly in need of new wine. No matter how often we try, our glass never feels full. There is never enough wine. As the day wears on we become increasingly aware that we cannot replenish the wine from our own resources. We must look elsewhere.

That day, when the wine runs out may seem like a disaster, an embarrassment, a failure. That must have been what it was like for the bride and groom at the wedding in Cana. “They have no wine,” Mary tells Jesus. That is not a condemnation or judgment but simply an observation.

When we hear this story, we tend to focus on the wine when maybe we should focus on the people in the story. Once again, when Mary tells Jesus, “They have no wine,” maybe it is a statement about the human condition. Maybe it is about you and me as much as it is about the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Maybe it is about our inner life, our way of being, more than the circumstances outside of us.

Too often we live in a world where we feel we can resolve everything ourselves. That way of life is often shattered on the day the wine runs out and the jars of our lives stand empty and dry. That day confronts us with new truths as old as creation itself, that we are the recipients and not the creators of our life. That we were never intended nor expected to live by the sufficiency of our own resources. That we must learn to live our lives as children of God, placing all our trust in Him and Him alone.

Regardless of how it feels or what we think about it, the day the wine runs out can be the best day of our lives because of Jesus Christ. On that day, He does not simply refill our glasses, He transforms our lives, turning water into wine. As in today’s Gospel, when we are told the wedding takes place on the third day, that is the day of resurrection and new life. That which was pale and lifeless is now vibrant and full of hope.

On the third day, our lives are filled to the top with the good wine. We are filled with the life of God and with the blood of Christ, leaving us under the influence of the Holy Spirit. That’s the miracle at Cana and it has never ceased happening. Every moment of every day Christ pours himself into the empty jars of our life. He is the good wine, poured out for all to enjoy.

Every time that good wine is poured, our lives are changed and transformed. We are brought “out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, and out of death into life.”

I have experienced those moments when bad is turned into good, sorrow into joy, and despair into hope. I have seen that happen in the lives of others and I have seen that in my own life. I have been surprised by the fear that was transformed into courage and seen people do things they never thought possible; like the excitement of my 7-year-old twin granddaughters and 5-year-old grandson going on Goofy’s Barnstormer, Expedition Everest, and Space Mountain for the first time just a few weeks ago.

These life-changing moments and a thousand others like them are the miracles of Cana. Those are moments when Christ’s glory is revealed, and we are enlightened, shining with the radiance of His glory. His glory becomes our glory.

If we want to unleash the power of God in our lives, so that the small little efforts we make, like filling the jars with water, can be transformed into miraculous works, like the finest wine, we have only to follow that one command, Mary’s last wish: “Do whatever he tells you.”

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