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Friday, January 25, 2013

20 JANUARY 2013 - HOMILY



First Reading:  Isaiah 62:1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 36:5-9
Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 12: 1-11
Gospel:  John 2:1-11

Today’s readings speak to me of several related themes God’s love and justice; to acknowledge our gifts and the gifts of others; to use our gifts in the service of the Creator’s love and justice; and, of our need to remember to trust and have faith.   
Like the Israelites of the first reading, the post contact history of our Indigenous sisters and brothers, includes exile from their lands.  The Idle No More movement kept coming to mind as I read the words of Isaiah, “I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn.”  Sister Eva Solomon, an Ojibwe nun from northern Ontario, says that for Aboriginal people, their traditions are their Old Testament.  The lesson for us is to remember that God’s hears the cries of the poor and that the oppressed are God’s chosen people, listen once more to Isaiah speaking God’s.

4 You shall no more be called Forsaken,
   and your land shall no more be called Desolate;
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
   and your land shall be called Married;
for the Great Spirit delights in you,
   and your land shall be married to our Creator.
5 For just as a young couple marry,
   you will be forever married to this land;
and as newly married couple rejoice in each other,
   so shall your Creator rejoice over you.

It is time for us to look deep in our hearts and see Indigenous Peoples as God sees; to see that they are true to God’s wishes when they say they are forever married to this land.  As a true spouse, they want to protect their beloved.  How can we work together for justice?  We can listen with openness of mind and heart.  One size does not fit all.
This brings me to the second reading. Paul tells us that we all have gifts, given to us by the Holy Spirit.  We don’t need to be jealous or envious of another’s gift or talent; nor do we need to hoard or hide our own.  We are given different gifts, not so that we can rank them─ one over another.  Rather, our individual gifts are given for the good of all.   There are varieties of gifts, so that there is someone or some group for each service or need. 
For example, some are gifted to be prophetic and some are gifted with the will to heed the prophetic voice, while others are gifted with the means to support─ in many ways ─the prophets of our time.  Some are gifted healers while others are gifted with the time and compassion to visit the sick.  Some with the gift of teaching use their gift in service to schools, others in activism, while still others through their art or craft.   We are all equally gifted, part of our journey in life is to discover our gift, and another part of the journey is to use our collective gifts with love and compassion in pursuit of justice.  We may not be able to see the fruits of our efforts but we are to trust that God’s love and justice will prevail.
John’s gospel reading, gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ handling of a request for an assurance concerning outcomes.  There is a line in today’s Gospel, which always caused me some problems.  It is:
Jesus replied, ‘Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’
So I did a little research to see if the Greek word used, γύναι ─ "Gynai" [yiné], actually meant “woman”.  It does.  I looked a little further and found that:
Even to the ancients, the word "gynai" was equivalent to the contemporary term "madam" and in fact the expression "honourable madam".[1]
But it sounded strange to me that Jesus would start his prayer to God, “Abba, that is Daddy, who art in heaven”, and then say to his mother, “Honourable Madam, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
The words sound harsh and a little critical.  They might not have been intended to be either harsh or critical. It is clear that he did not intend to refuse to provide wine, but only that he needed a little time and maybe his intention was to calm his Mother’s anxiety; to prevent her worrying about it.  Let’s suppose it went something like this: "Mom, don’t be anxious. When the time is right, I’ll make sure there is enough wine.  In the meantime, let’s not worry about it."  
If we look at it this way, the harshness fades and it can be understood that Jesus intention is to persuade Mary to dismiss her fears and to trust in him.  If we look at it this way, it is more than just another miracle story about something Jesus did long ago;  It is rather, Jesus assuring us─ in the here and now ─to dismiss our fears and to put our trust in him. 
So to sum up, we know ─although we may not see─ the outcome, that is, God’s love and justice prevail.   Our job is to be God’s co-workers by the acknowledgement our gifts and use them in the service of the Creator’s love and justice.  Our prayer is to remember to trust and to have faith─
Confident of Your promise, we strive for a circle─ whole and holy ─where all Your children have place and voice and where Your dream of justice is revealed.  We are Your people, encircle us with Your Spirit, turn us to acts of justice, love us into roundness, and transform us for your gracious purpose[2].  Amen.  




[2]  Adapted from “Finding our Place in the Circle: Ecumenical Worship Service” in Truth, Reconciliation & Equity: They Matter to Us! Kairos Campaign 2011-12

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