Chapter Talk – Second Sunday of the Year – January 16, 2022, cycle-C
With the wedding feast at Cana, we are given the third manifestation of the Incarnate Word, the Word made flesh. God has united with humanity in sending his beloved Son to and for us, fully human and fully Divine. The other two manifestations being Epiphany, and the Baptism of Jesus. The miracle at Cana is “the first of Jesus’ signs, that is, symbols of the divine power at work in the Incarnate Word” (Hearing the Word of God, John Donahue, SJ, p.23). At the beginning of this new liturgical cycle, we are given three ‘manifestations’ of God’s self-gift in Christ. This self-gift exposes the nature of God: God is Love. And this Love has now become part of our flesh, part of our very being. As it is written in the Acts of the Apostles (17:28): ‘In the One with whom we move, and live and have our essential being’. Next week we will see Jesus beginning his public ministry with his prophetic announcement “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Lk 4:18).
Let us not forget as we move into the new year the incarnate gift, the grace upon grace that has been given and will continue to be given. The epistle, the second reading for today, underscores this gift: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Co 12:7). Through, with and in Christ we are given the Spirit…and this gift is given over and over. With the Incarnation we are not alone…Always the Divine Presence will accompany us with wisdom, healing love, insight and inspiration, vision, guidance, and discernment. Also, if we are open, the Spirit will help us to see the darkness within ourselves that begs for transformation.
The epistle goes on and differentiates the gifts of the Spirit and we truly can say that Jesus embodied all of them, so that now through the Spirit, he breathes these same gifts within us. However, once again, what is our interior state? To receive the gifts of the Spirit the ‘ego’ needs to surrender and listen…to be aware of those darker voices that block a deeper receptivity and listening. Are we frozen by fears and anxieties? Are we held in the grips of a ‘hurt’ that we have not processed enough so that we can begin anew in a relationship? Or are we open enough, trusting enough in mind and heart to see a situation differently than before? It is practically obvious, is it not, that the Spirit cannot bestow the needed gift if the ‘ego’ is so tightly in charge and thus cannot, will not relinquish its control
The ‘sign’ at Cana will now open the way for Jesus’ ministry. The symbols of changing water into wine already are a premonition of what awaits Jesus, his passion, death, and resurrection. Keep in mind and heart that Jesus could not face what awaits him without his knowledge of being God’s beloved Son. This Love of his Abba will never leave him, and this becomes the gift he bestows upon us. In Pope Benedict’s words: “In becoming incarnate, God has bound himself. At the same time, though,…[this] speaks of the demands that this gift places upon us in ever new ways” (Jesus of Nazareth, p.260). Indeed, the incarnate ‘gift’ given to and for us places demands upon us…but these ‘demands’ are never empty, for overflowing grace will accompany us as we give our flesh, our very lives over to God.
I conclude with an excerpt from a poem by Christine Rogers:
I am ready
This is all
ask of you
it is a
(Embracing the Sacred Journey, p.7)
Sr. Kathy Devico, Abbess