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St. Dorothy Catholic Community Orlando/Winter Park, Florida

Isaiah 62:1-5

Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10

First Corinthians 12:4-11

John 2:1-12

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time – January 16, 2022

Jesus and his disciples attended the wedding feast. This is no minor detail. And just to make sure we don't ignore it, today's Old Testament reading reiterates it.

God tells us that the relationship he wants to have with us, with his Church and each member of his Church, is a relationship of intimacy - real person-to- person intimacy - and joy, and fruitfulness. And so he says that his grace will bring us into his joyful embrace - like the embrace of newlyweds. The prophet Isaiah tells us: "For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land [this is an image of the Church] 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."

All the good things of our lives here on earth are gifts from God. They tell us about God, and they give us little hints about what life lived in close communion with him is like.

If his gifts can give us so much joy, just imagine the delight that comes from actually possessing him - and that's what he wants to happen, both now, here on earth, in part, and completely, forever in heaven. Too often we think of God as aloof from the healthy joys and activities of the human experience. Jesus came not just to teach us how to live, but to bring the whole human condition back to its fullness. It is part of human nature to celebrate, to enjoy the good things of creation (like marriage and wine), and Patrick’s Confirmation today and Christ wants to teach us how to do so in a balanced, healthy way. The better we know him, the more fully we will experience the life he has given us. Just to put things into perspective as scripture tells us 6 purification jugs were filled to the brim with water. Each of these jugs held (from what archaeology tells us) 30 gallons of water each. So Jesus made approximately 180 gallons of wine or the equivalent of 2 pallets of regular wine bottles. Also the wedding reception was not just an event after the wedding as we know it today that was at the ballroom of the Cana Ritz Carlton. The wedding receptions at Jesus’ time lasted for a week. So they were party animals!

Here is an antidote which has been passed down through the ages. When St John the Evangelist, Jesus' youngest disciple and the one who is attributed for writing the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, was an old man, he taught this lesson to one of the young followers of Christ in his area.
One day the young man, who was really on fire for the faith and eager to spread the Good News, found the apostle John sitting on a bench in the yard near their meeting place. John was calm and relaxed, playing with a little pet monkey. A smile on his face, gentle laughter on his lips, and seemingly without a care in the world. The young man was taken aback to see the saint taking it easy. He went up to him and said, "Good teacher, how can you rest and relax when the Church is being persecuted? How can you sit here idle when so many people still do not know Jesus Christ?" John turned away from the little monkey and looked at his young disciple with a glint in his eye. "My son," he said, "the bow that is always strung soon loses its strength." Then he went back to playing with his pet.

Jesus enjoyed the wedding feast. His Apostles enjoyed the wedding feast. Christian life is not meant to be dark and dreary; we above all people should know how to enjoy God's gifts to the full. A sad saint is a bad saint.

God wants us to enjoy the good things of life, as the wedding guests at Cana enjoyed the water turned into wine, but he also wants us to enjoy them well. That always takes a bit of self-discipline. Because of original sin, we all have a tendency to over-indulge. There are many things we can do to learn how to enjoy God's gifts with self-discipline. I would like to suggest a couple.

First, regular contact with nature. Nature is a school of God's goodness. We are part of nature, and we were created to depend on nature and to cultivate nature. Our technological society has detached us from these roots. Family gardens, outings to the park, walks in the woods - these are great ways to enjoy God's gifts and to learn from them, to keep balance in our lives.

Second, manners in the way we eat and the way we speak. Here again the dignity and simplicity of our Christian identity should shine through. We are children of the king. The graciousness of our bearing should encourage and inspire those around us - even our family members.

Manners show respect for us and for others - and that is a sure path to the strength and peace that will enable us to enjoy all the beauties and pleasures of God's creation without being enslaved by them. Manners are part of the path to freedom.

Today as our Lord once again comes to us in the miracle of the Eucharist, turning the bread into his body and the wine into his blood, let's ask him to teach us this beautiful lesson, to teach us to enjoy the good things of life and enjoy them well.

Let's ask him to turn the water of our daily lives into the wine of a life lived in close and constant friendship with him. And when we have him with us in Holy Communion, let's promise him that we will do something this week to bring Christian balance back into our life.

And if I can turn to the celebration of Patrick’s Confirmation.

Patrick, when you were baptized you received for the first time the gift of the Holy Spirit making you a child of God . God is not some nebulous force – God is a person – Father/Mother who loves us and wants to be close to us.

In the first centuries of the church, it was adults who became member of the Christian community – it was a risky thing to do. Christianity was outlawed because Christians refused to worship the gods of Rome. If you were caught you could be killed. So right after you were baptized you received this other sacrament, confirmation – you were anointed with oil, a oil that was meant to give you strength to be a Christ like person. Then you received your first communion, Christ the bread of life, the nourishment you would need to live a Christian life. We call these 3 sacraments the Sacraments of initiation.

The Holy Spirit you are to receive – if you allow her – will help you to live Christ like lives, help you to pick good friends, help you to make right choses, help you to turn to God when you are feeling down, discouraged, confused. The Spirit will help get up when you fail to live up to what you know is right, help you to be faithful to the Eucharist and all the sacraments, help you to be a good and generous person. If you allow her.

There is a question we might all ask ourselves this morning – if I was arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict me? Am I any different from people who go through life as if God did not exist?

As we pray for the Spirit to come upon Patrick – we can pray for ourselves that our own lives be guided by the Holy Spirit, the the giver of Life.