Sunday, January 17; 2nd Sunday in Ordianry Time

Grow old with me.  The best is yet to come.

Sometimes, we hear these words sung or said at weddings or anniversaries.  Though not favorite words of mine, they did come to mind as I pondered the Gospel passage this 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time; the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:1-11)

The Christian life is a kind of marriage; my life espoused to Christ.  From St. Paul to the mystics, this imagery has been applied to our relationship with God who, in Christ, ‘weds’ Himself to us.  It was in monastic life and studying the works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux where I grew to appreciate its significance and meaning.

By perseverance and loving faithfully—mercifully, too, as Pope Francis would have it during this Jubilee Year of Mercy—we’re asked to “grow old” with Christ who makes all things new, and to believe with Christ that “The best is yet to come.”  Yet, do we actually believe it?  Does not life seem to move in the opposite direction as we grow older?

I recall my Dad’s last year of life, though we did not know it at the time.  We carted him from one specialist to another due to cardiovascular disease.  After one appointment, my Mom looked at me and said, “He’s not going to get any better.  I feel it.”  Never a wide-eyed optimist, my Mom made her point.  I could see it as well.  I also saw how this culture—obsessed with youth—has little time for those growing older and more limited.  They forgot that my Dad was once young and at his best once upon a time.  What my Mom feared did come to pass.  Those were not the best of times.  Growing old is hard; a veritable kenosis. 

St. Paul reminds us how “All of us have been given to drink of the one Spirit”; a foretaste of what is to come.  Nonetheless, it is hard to believe in this lavish gift the miracle at Cana reveals as those six stone water jars are turned into wine.  It’s all a sign of ‘something more’ and for which we thirst and when there’s nothing more to hope for.  Still, we continue to thirst and to long until our dying breath, wedded to God as we are.  This thirst speaks of God and the “new wine” promised us.

Life does seem short and time not on our side.  We run out of time, yet thirst for more.  On one level, this is what happened at Cana.  They ran out of wine, yet thirsted for more.  Mary says to Jesus, “They have no wine.”  It is then Jesus (yet, not without dragging his feet) helps avoid a deadly and embarrassing situation by transforming water into wine.  On a deeper level, it reveals what God wants to bring about in us: when life runs dry and we find ourselves without hope.   We see this happening to Jesus—God’s thirst for us—when  in the Resurrection death gives way to life, and the “new wine” of the Kingdom that Jesus promises he will  drink new with his disciples begins to burn within them; like fire.

With any espoused life, we must learn to trust during good times and in bad; to believe God makes good on his promises, faithful as God is.  Believe it or not, the best is yet to come.  The water was transformed into wine.  It’s all an unfathomable gift and sign meant to give us hope when there’s nothing more; when”They have no wine.”  It is then the miracle happens.  I recall the Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s final words as he was being led to the scaffold at the Nazi death camp in Flossenburg:  “it is the end…For me the beginning of life.”   May we believe in that transforming life Christ offers; where “Life is changed, not ended.”


Father Tim Clark, Pastor


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