Viva Sto. Nino, #Lakbayaw January 20, 2019

Ang TOTOong Balita

by Fr. Toto Cerada SDB, Mary Help of Christians Parish, Calamba Laguna

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1IS 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God.
No more shall people call you “Forsaken, “
or your land “Desolate, “
but you shall be called “My Delight, “
and your land “Espoused.”
For the LORD delights in you
and makes your land his spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

R. (3) Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
 among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
 give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.
Worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He governs the peoples with equity.
R. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations.

Reading 21 COR 12:4-11

Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Alleluia CF. 2 THES 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.

Jesus the Bridegroom

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
[January 20, 2019]
John 2:1-12

wedding ardiMary who was once a bride and has passed through the tiny-gritty of a Jewish wedding can sense immediately something goes wrong. The wine is running out. In the Jewish context, wine is an essential ingredient in every joyous occasion, as it is ordained by God to “gladden men’s hearts” (Ps 104:15) The lack of it can spell a disastrous result. It is the source of shame, and even a family dispute.

Everyone knows that it is the responsibility of the bridegroom to provide the wine, yet Mary does something unexpected. Instead of notifying the groom, she approached Jesus and points to him the gravity of the looming disaster. However, instead of getting an immediate favorable response, the plot twists even more. In a surprising statement, Jesus says to his mother, “Woman, how does your concern affect me?” (Jn 2:4). This statement is a Semitic expression indicating that the issue at hand is not Jesus’ problem. In a sense, Jesus is right because it is the job of the groom to fix the problem, but in a much more profound sense, Mary is also right because Jesus is the true Bridegroom.

Jesus understands that He is the Bridegroom, but the hour is not at Cana, but at the Cross. Thus, He says, “My Hour has not yet come.” (Jn 2:4) Yet, Mary as a mother knows her Son best. She has faith in Jesus, that Jesus is not only the Bridegroom at the Cross who gives His life for His Bride, the Church, but Jesus is also the Bridegroom in every marriage, family, a community that reflects this Church. Thus, when Jesus transforms the water into wine, it does not happen in historical level, but in a more profoundly symbolical way. Yes, Jesus helps the couple from disaster, but more than that, He supplies what is fundamentally lacking in every marriage: the best wine, the true joy of married life.

One of my duties as a deacon is to check whether the particular couple is canonically fit for the Church’s marriage. To fulfill this, I need to interview the couple and ask some pertinent questions. Yet, I usually go beyond, and I remind them why the Church does not recognize civil marriage. The answer is plain yet very basic: Jesus, the true Bridegroom, is not there, or to be precise, we make a deliberate effort to exclude Him in our marriage. The union between man and woman is not just a human, social and cultural phenomena but a divine reality. When a man and a woman commit themselves into marriage, God Himself who wills to make them one. Therefore, marriage is primarily and fundamentally God’s grace working in the human relationship. And if God unites them together, He will be the one who sustains and brings into perfection. This is why marriage is elevated into the level of sacraments of the Church.

However, I continue reminding the couples that marriage in the Church does not only mean to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony but to stay within the Church, the Bride of Christ, throughout their lives: to attend the Eucharist as a family, to participate actively in the Church as a couple, to pray regularly together. As the wine is impossible without a jar of waters, God’s grace will not work in our marriages unless we open ourselves to this grace. Like Mary who points Jesus what is lacking in the wedding in Cana, so the Church asks Jesus to fulfill every marriage with the best wine.

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