2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (C)

Our Lord’s attendance at the Wedding Feast in Cana teaches us many things. The Church tells us that Our Lord’s presence at this Wedding Feast sanctifies marriage. Our Lord raised marriage up to the dignity of a Sacrament. A Sacrament is an outward sign which conveys grace. Grace is the participation in the very life of the Most Holy Trinity. Through the Sacrament of marriage, the Lord conveys His grace, His life, to those who receive it. The Sacrament of marriage is meant to assist those who receive it to draw nearer to God; that is the whole purpose of the Sacraments: they are meant to bring us into a closer union with God.

Marriage is a holy thing: it is a God-given calling. It is meant to be a sign on earth of the love that Jesus Christ has for His bride, the Church. If you are married, the love that you and your spouse have for each other is meant to be an image of what Christ’s love is like: the love between a husband and his wife is a sign of God’s love, and that love is total, self-giving, and self-sacrificial.

Our culture, in this day and age, has a very distorted idea of what marriage is. Marriage is often viewed, by our society, as a contract; it is thought of as a man-made institution that can be re-defined, altered and ended at will. Marriage is not an invention of man: God created marriage from the very beginning. Marriage was part of God’s plan for man and woman from the time that He created them: the two were meant to become one flesh, they were meant to be fruitful and multiply. That is God’s plan from the beginning.

Man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God; and God has existed from all eternity as a Community of love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We were made in the image of love and we were made for love. We were made to love God above all things and we were made to love others. Ever since sin entered the world, it has become a struggle to live as were made to live. We have commandments because of sin: we have commandments because we fail to live according to the purpose for which we were made: we fail to love. All of the commandments given to us by God and by the Church are attempts at getting us to live as God made us to live.

Our culture has a tendency to view laws as mere restrictions placed upon freedoms. There are many in our society, today, who talk about rights and freedoms as if they were the most important things. Laws are viewed negatively because laws seem to put arbitrary limits on freedom. God’s laws are not random restrictions of freedoms: God gives us laws in order to help us live according to our nature. When someone ignores these laws, they become unhappy because they are not living according to the way that they were created. The laws that God provides help us to know God’s plan for us and help us to follow His will. These laws connect us with the truth about how we were created, Who God IS, and how we are to respond to Him; and these truths lead to true freedom.

We were created for love and real love doesn’t try to find loopholes: real love doesn’t even need laws. True love does not calculate. Love doesn’t ask how far it can push and still be in the realm of venial sin. Love does not ask how much is required nor does it count the cost: love can give nothing less than its entire self. That is the nature of love; that is the nature of God. Jesus said if we loved God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, we would already be fulfilling the law: the law is only trying to get us to love. We are called to love God with all our hearts and all our minds and with all our strength. We are called to return the love that God freely pours out upon us. God gives us everything that we have; He gives us the gift of Himself in the Eucharist at each and every Mass. God does not hold back anything from us: He allows His own Son to be crucified in order to save us from sin and death. He gave us His own beloved Son and He wants us to love Him in return.

The miracle that Jesus performed at the Wedding Feast of Cana is a demonstration of what God’s love for us is like. When God provides, He doesn’t just give us a little; He gives us superabundance. Twenty to thirty gallons is a LOT of wine! Multiply that times six. Moreover, it was not just any old wine: it was good wine; better wine than the wine they had before.

God is more than generous with us; and we are called to imitate that generosity as we return that love. God has done so much for us: He created us, He redeemed us, and He desires that we attain everlasting life with Him forever in the world to come. All the good things that we have in our lives come from the hand of God and we have done absolutely nothing to deserve any of them. In order to thank God we can, and should, offer back to Him everything that He has given to us: we can make an offering of ourselves, and all that we have to God. There isn’t anything that we can give to God, strictly speaking, of course: He doesn’t need anything. Nevertheless, God is pleased by our desire to offer back to Him what He has given to us. The gift that we bring is not what is most important: it is the heart with which we offer that counts. God can do great things even with the poor gifts. The servants in today’s Gospel brought plain water and Jesus made an abundance of good wine. In another Gospel, a boy brought forward a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread and the Lord used them to feed thousands. At Mass, bread and wine are brought forward and placed upon the altar and God uses them to feed us with Himself. When we give everything to God, He can do great things through us. Let us renew our resolution to rid ourselves of sin and love God with all our heart. Lord, enflame our hearts with love; help us to love you above all things and not count the cost. Amen.

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