A New Creation
Just prior to Christmas, I told you that since July, our Sunday collections had been unusually low and asked for your support. You answered my appeal with possibly the largest Christmas and Year-end contributions SMT has received in years. We made up all our shortfalls within the month of December! Additionally, the Committee for the Poor received $44,000 for the Christmas Homeless Backpack Drive, and our 2018 Together In Mission goal has been met!
I am truly grateful to you for your generosity and support of our parish. Just as in today’s Gospel, “Water has turned into wine.” You have certainly reduced a few grey hairs on my head, just as Jesus did for that distressed couple at their wedding in Cana. Once again, I sincerely thank you for your support.
Liturgically, we are back into Ordinary Time, but there is nothing ordinary about this period. We immediately move from the baby Jesus in the manger at Christmas to a “thirty something” Jesus at his Baptism, concluding the Christmas Season. During Ordinary Time, so to speak, the honeymoon is over, and Jesus’ work of redemption begins.
St. John beautifully structures his Gospel by placing the Book of Signs in the beginning. This section has Seven Signs, with the first being Jesus’ changing the water into wine at the Cana Wedding Feast. These are the “epiphanies” or manifestations of Jesus’ divinity at work in our world. During the Christmas Season, Jesus is revealed to the shepherds, the Magi, and John the Baptist. During Ordinary Time, beginning with the Wedding at Cana, he is revealing himself to the rest of us. The ability to recognize Jesus – God made visible – is our conversion moment, just like the transformation of water into wine.
As I shared with you last Sunday, through the water of Baptism, Jesus saves us not just by taking away our sins and leaving us in our current condition, but by re-creating us through the power of the Holy Spirit into a new creation.
In his book, My Conversion, Leo Tolstoy wrote, “[When] Faith came to me; I believed in Jesus Christ, and all my life suddenly changed. I ceased to desire that which previously I had desired, and on the other hand, I took to desiring what I had never desired before. That which formerly used to appear good in my eyes appeared evil and that which used to appear evil appeared good.” Before his conversion, Tolstoy had acquired fame and fortune through his great writings. But he was unsatisfied. “I fought duels,” he wrote. “I gambled, I wasted my substance wrung from the sweat of peasants and deceived men. Lying, robbery, adultery of all kinds, drunkenness was my life.”
It is this transformation into a new creation that Jesus desires for all of us.