Catholic Contemplative Affiliation

Sunday Readings

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

Readings: Isaiah 62.1-5; 1st Corinthians 12.4-11; John 2.1-12

Epiphany celebrates the act of God’s self-revelation.  All of liturgy and all of prayer is revelation.  God longs to reveal himself and I respond to that love from the deepest levels of my being; this is the act of praying. 
The people of faith in the synoptic Gospels are those who accept the revelation of Jesus as Savior and Son of God.  Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the holy contemplatives Simeon and Anna, and  the rabbis gathered around the questioning young lad, Jesus of Nazareth,  are all bathed in Christ’s light in their act of faith.  The voice of the Father at Jesus’ baptism is the climatic point of this developing revelation.
Every time we enter the act of prayer we are the most recent recipients of this act of love: that God should give himself to us in the light that is Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit who is substantial prayer.  This meditation here calls the Spirit, “substantial prayer” because the Spirit is the source and gift of our ability to pray.  And because our prayer in Christ is not merely of the mind, soul, in understanding and will, but our prayer causes substantial change and transformation in our very created being.  The Spirit moves our substantial being, reborn already in the Spirit, into a real growth and change in our spiritual being.
The manifestation or the epiphany of Jesus continues with this Gospel Reading of St. John’s account of the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana.  In this Gospel, the beginning of Jesus’ manifestation is made through the intercession of Mary His Mother.  In John’s Gospel up to this point, Jesus has been revealed only to John the Baptist; Jesus has called His disciples in a private manner.  Now in this account we have the first public manifestation of Jesus:  Jesus performed this first of his signs at Cana of Galilee. Thus, did He reveal His glory, and his disciples believed in him.
In the mystery of the Gospel dynamic, Jesus seemed not ready to reveal Himself.  The divine plan is a drama.  Real dynamics among people move that plan.  Mary’s intervention is always crucial. Jesus says to His Mother, Mary:  Woman, how does this concern of yours involve me?  My hour has not yet come.
“His hour” is the moment of His fulfillment of the Father’s will to be Savior of the human race and the whole cosmos.  It is a process that leads to the ultimate Hour, His Death and consequent Resurrection. 
What a marvelous thing!  This cosmic hour as a part of the process of redemption’s Mystery begins with His manifestation as Savior to this small, incipient faith community, the seed of the Church, gathered for a wedding, at the observation and intervention of the Mother:  They have no wine.
At this beginning of Jesus’ Hour, Mary intercedes in the midst of a human situation.  The embarrassment of running out of wine at the wedding becomes the context of divine intervention in the history of the human family.  Mary’s faith, in absolute obedience, as in the Annunciation, becomes the vehicle of this first manifestation of Christ’s Hour of Glory:  His mother instructed those waiting on table, “Do whatever he tells you.”
The human race had waited Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel’s announcement that she was to be the Mother of the Savior.  Her response was “Let it be done to me according to your word.”  Now the public ministry of that Incarnate Son of God followed upon Mary’s word of obedience and faith:  Do whatever he tells you.
How appropriate that this first manifestation of the Christ’s glory takes place at a wedding!  John had already compared himself to the best man at a wedding who is happy to hear the voice of the groom, who is Christ Jesus. 
Many mystics of the Church have compared our union with God in love to a mystical marriage, drawing upon the Old Testament book of the Canticle of Canticles (the Song of Songs). 
St. Paul in Ephesians says that the union between the husband and wife is a sign of the union between Christ and His Church.  The union is between Christ and the members of the Church.  We are united to Christ in the Church’s spousal relationship.
One beautiful antiphon for Epiphany in the Liturgy of the Hours, at Evening Prayer, sums up all the “epiphany events”:  “Christ’s Bride is bathed in the waters of His baptism; the Magi hurry to the marriage feast; and the celebrants are made happy with the water turned into wine.”
We celebrate our life of union with Christ, our divine Spouse.  In the midst of our daily lives we remember the call to the Marriage Feast and we consummate that union in the practice of silent, contemplative prayer.  The silent love relationship of that prayer lingers with us throughout the day as we fulfill our work among the members of the human family.  The water of our life, so beautiful in itself, is even more transformed into the wine of divine union.
In the First Reading we have the prophetic witness pointing to the fulfillment of the Gospel:  No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” but you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.”
The Second Reading reminds us: The contemplative life in the Holy Spirit places us deep within the Church as we fulfill the work of service to others.  To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
We still have the treasure of the Mother of God as our great Intercessor, revealed so many times, fully honored and fully operative.  “Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee…. Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Great Intercessor, pray for us that we be transformed into Christ your Son and Savior, your Lord, Whom you serve in such a perfect and immaculate way.  Pray for us that we be faithful to our life of contemplative prayer. 
Let our celebration of the Holy Eucharist and our Communion open us up to the words of our Mother, Mary:  Do whatever he tells you.

-William Fredrickson, Obl. Secular OSB; D.Min.


For questions, comments or other communication, please contact:
William Frederickson