January 14, 2007

Do whatever he tells you. – John 2: 5

These are the last recorded words of our Lady in the New Testament. They are deceptively simple, but the independent minded folk of today are just as apt to reply, “Why should we?” I can think of at least one compelling reason why we should.

The assertion “They have no wine” is the haunting & poignant statement of all human insufficiency. Humans have lost their union with God &, by implication, their communion with one another. Without this spiritual union the wedding of life cannot continue. The chorus of human afflictions – illness, lameness, blindness, hunger & death (not to mention the moral evils, the horrible pain humans inflict on each other) – are all cries of finitude. The human condition is so jeopardized that people find it difficult to celebrate without a hollow ring to it. We have no wine.

Jesus’ glory is to bring divine abundance into the world of human lack. The incarnate Word of God is geared to help us genuinely celebrate life. The very reason for His being is to supply wine for the imperiled marriage of human & divine life. The mother of Jesus knows who to turn to when the wine runs out.

Note that divine love does not attempt to save us from outside, by divine fiat or overwhelming force, but compassionately shares human suffering in order to save from the inside. It is the Jesus of the Wedding Feast who teaches us how to use our gifts, such as they may be, as instruments of peace & brotherhood, who teaches us to believe in His miraculous power of transformation which lifts up the dull & routine to heavenly heights. Notice how Jesus draws ordinary servants into His miracle of transformation. His request to “fill the jars with water” is just another routine job to them, but unexpectedly they find that they are being drawn into a miraculous event. Jesus has made them His co-workers, & He can do the same for us if we are willing to cooperate with Him.

There are times when all of us are tempted to despair over our ineptitude & bungling in life. At such moments we need to remember that we all have special gifts. Some, Paul tells us, have the “gift of healing,” others “the power of miracles,” or “prophecy,” or “the gift of tongues,” or the “ability to interpret them.” Above there are three gifts that alone are lasting: faith, hope & love, & the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13: 13).

Do you have the gift of a loving heart? If not, then be assured, it is ours for the asking. Just turn to our Lord, & then do whatever He tells you! That’s when we will discover that we have something to truly celebrate. AMEN!