January 17, 2016: Time to Celebrate!

Cornelis_de_Bailleur_Marriage_at_Cana

John 2: 1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Today’s Gospel tells us of Jesus’ first ‘sign’…and it was not to heal the sick or raise the dead, but to turn water into wine, to allow the wedding party to go on!

Many of us who are single parents know that more wine/alcohol does not always lead to good times. Many of us have struggled with addiction or have been close to those who have, in fact that may be part of the reason why we are single parents!

So, for those who of us whose lives have been impacted by addiction, where do we find the hope in today’s Gospel reading…when wine has not always been a good thing in our lives or in the lives of our children? We find hope where we always find it: in the good news that God’s love is always with us, and that it is God’s Will that we live our lives in happiness and peace!

In today’s Gospel we are told that Jesus used the jars that were used for the Jewish purification ritual and had them filled with water, which was then turned into wine for a celebration! With the sign we are reminded that through Jesus, we no longer have to worry about purifying ourselves, because through his death and resurrection we have already been washed clean.  This frees us from feeling as if we have to be ‘good enough’ to earn God’s love, as we have been made children of God, and as such that love is something we cannot avoid!  It is like the love we have for our children, it is there, present and alive in our lives, and unavoidable.  Although we may get mad at our kids from time to time, and they may disappoint us (and vice-versa) that love is something that can never be lost!

As we have been purified through Christ, we are freed to live our lives to the fullest, to enjoy our time here with our children and with each other! Today’s Gospel reminds us that life is NOT a burden to be endured, but something to be celebrated!  Of course, as single parents, this is something that we may sometimes forget, as we take on the weight of responsibility for raising our kids!  And we simply may not always have time to remember that life is supposed to be good, and that God wants us to enjoy this great gift!

We can remind ourselves of the beauty of life, by taking time out each day to practice joy. We can do this by spending time just being with our kids, having fun, a good conversation about our day, sharing a meal.  We can remind ourselves of the joy of living by getting out for a walk or some playtime in the yard or park.  When we do something not because we have to, but because we want to, when we get pleasure from something…even if it is just watching a favorite TV show, or listening to music, or saying a prayer, we are experiencing the joy of living for ourselves and fulfilling our call as followers of Christ!  The call is to share God’s love with the world, by making the Kingdom of God known in our midst!

This Kingdom is like the wedding feast, a place of celebration, a place of peace and where life can be enjoyed together! This joy does not come from any bottle, food or pill, it comes from knowing that we are living in the light of God’s grace, and that this light shines on and one through each of us!

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, thank you for giving us many reasons to celebrate our lives together: especially those we love, like our children! Please help us to see your grace alive and active in our world, and not to let the responsibilities and disappointment of life overwhelm us with despair.  Let us always remember that it is your Will that we live our lives in joy!  And offer comfort and hope to whose lives have been impacted by the disease of addiction, reminding them that it is never your Will that we suffer, and that they are not alone in their struggles.

Amen

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