Second Sunday after Epiphany-They have no wine.: Fulfilling the Need
The Gospel for the day is on The miracle of Jesus turning water into wine. And the theme I want to bring out in this miracle is that “Jesus can fulfill your need”
So we read in John Chapter 2: And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
There are 8 miracles mentioned in the book of John. John, inspired by the Holy Ghost, chose 8 to write about among the many he saw Jesus do. The interesting thing is, is that he doesn't call them miracles. In fact, the word miracle is never found in the gospel of John. If you read John Chapter Two and verse 11 he calls them signs. The miracles were a sign. Every miracle was a parable. They had a message in it, a spiritual message in it, which the Lord wanted us to understand.
You remember once the Lord said to his disciples, "there are many things I want to say to you." He said that on the night before he was crucified, "but you can't grasp them now." They had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come on the day of Pentecost, to understand the spiritual implications of many things that they saw during the three and a half years that they were with Jesus in his ministry time.
Today we have the Holy Spirit so we can understand one of the spiritual implication behind this first sign.
The first sign was the sign of water being turned into wine. Most of you would be familiar with the story where Jesus was invited to a wedding. And then at the wedding, the wine ran out, and Jesus turned water into wine to meet that need. Now, what is the spiritual message in this? There are several, but I want to zoom in on just one. And that is the one that I have already mentioned. "Jesus can fulfill your need".
Wine is a picture of the life of God, of the life of Christ.
Here is a picture we could say, first of all, of a believer who once had some wine and does not have it now. In the descriptive words of Jeremiah, A “backslidden” believer who has lost his first love for the Lord. Who isn't fervent in his or her Devotion to the Lord, as he once was. Does that apply to you?
It could also be a picture of an unbeliever who never had the wine that Jesus produced, but only had that old wine of the world. And that's never satisfied him. He's frustrated. He's depressed. And it turns out at the end of life, in their old age that the pleasure and satisfaction of the world has come to an end.
It could also refer to a marriage, a marriage where the original love that the husband and wife had for each other has gone. Like they say, the honeymoon is over.
You know, it should never be over in a Christian marriage. It should get better and better as time goes on. But maybe there is a marriage where the honeymoon is over where the wine has run out. And the wonderful thing is, Jesus did the miracle there and made wine far superior to the wine that they had in the beginning. Teaching us that Jesus can do a miracle in every marriage and bring it to a far more glorious relationship then they had at the beginning.
It can refer to a church that has lost its first love. Like the church in Ephesus, which we read about in Revelation chapter two. A church established by the Apostle Paul and who at one time loved the Lord fervently. 40 or 50 years later, it was no longer the same. Their first love was gone. They still got the right doctrine, still had the Mass but that fervent devotion to Christ has gone.
So here are a number of situations where this miracle could apply. It's a sign, a spiritual message behind the miracle.
So we see in the scriptures that Mary turned to Jesus....and that's the right person to turn to when there is a need. She came and said they have no wine. Mary, the Mother of God, full of all graces, intercedes for us by showing that the first step to deliverance from any problem, is to honestly acknowledge our need. To say, Lord, the wine has run dry in my life. I'm not what I was. I was devoted to the Lord years ago. But it's gone. I've slipped up by being drawn away to other things in the world and I don't love you as I did at first. Lord, the wine is gone.
You could be serving the Lord and the anointing of Gods Spirit has gone from your life. Do you know how you can have it back? In one word...Acknowledgement.
God loves honest people.
He doesn't ask us for purity first, cause that takes time. It can take years. He doesn't ask us for perfection first. He doesn't ask us to even love others or forgive others first. That can be a battle. He asked us for the easiest thing that anyone in the world can ever do. And you know what that is? Honestly, acknowledging our need. How long does that take?
You could be a drunkard and say, oh Lord, I'm a drunkard. That's honesty. You could be a Harlot and say, oh Lord, I am a harlot. That's honesty. And those were the people whom Jesus could help the most when he was on earth. And he's the same yesterday, today and forever. He helps those who are always honest in acknowledging their need. I can say in my own life that I have come to the realization that God just wants me to be honest before the Lord concerning my own awareness of my spiritual condition. When I feel spiritually dry, I've said to the Lord, “I feel dry.” If I read the Bible and I find it boring, I say to the Lord, "I find this boring." He won't be offended. Do you know that God loves honest people? I wish you would realize that. “Lord, I can't trust you now”, that's being honest, “but I want to Lord, help my unbelief.” It's so easy to be honest. I wish we would realize this. I wish you'd realized this morning that the only thing that God wants you to do, first of all is to be honest.
Thats what confession is all about. 30 minutes before every mass the sacrament of confession is available to to each and everyone of you.
I know Catholics who are in there 80's and have not been to confession since they were kids. Why? Because they think they don't have to go to a priest for confession. They say that they only need to go straight to God.
Jesus said in Matthew 9:6 that God had given Jesus as the Son of Man, not as the Son of God, the power, the authority, to forgive sins.
Now lets fast forward to Jesus Ascension into heaven.
At this time He gives the great commission. Matthew, Mark and Luke each has a record of the great commission even though they differ in exact language (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:-15-18; Luke 24:47-49). John 20:21-23 is John’s account of the great commission.
Matthew 28:18-19 records what Jesus said to the Apostles, "And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power (all Authority) is given to me in heaven and in earth." He therefore hands that authority over to the Apostles. "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
Jesus authorizes, he empowers, the Apostles to make disciples, baptize, and catechise. All the Gospels pretty much say the same thing. But St. John's gospel added one more thing. After breathing on them and giving them the Holy Spirit, he says this:
"Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:23)
And so we see that God has provided the sacrament of confession so that we can be reconciled to Christ.
Are You Afraid to Go to Confession?
Maybe you think you have sinned too much and your life is too messed up for God to be able to straighten it out through the Sacrament of Confession. Maybe you think your sins are so awful or so embarrassing that you will shock the priest and that he will look at you weirdly in the future. Maybe you are afraid to face your sins and so have convinced yourself to think that you don’t really need the Sacrament of Confession. Maybe you don’t remember how to go to Confession or what to say and so you are afraid to receive this Sacrament.
None of these are legitimate reasons to avoid the great Gift of forgiveness that the Father desires to give you! Once you have allowed Jesus to remove the obstacles of your sins through Confession, you will receive an amazing Gift worth more than millions and millions of diamonds. And although this Gift of forgiveness and reconciliation cost Jesus all His Blood—it comes to you for free if you will only come to him in honesty, acknowledging your need..... “Lord we are in need of more wine, we are in need of your life, we are in need of your forgiveness”
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity." (1 John 1:9)- Fr. Francis Dominic