Friday, January 13, 2012

Devotion for today: a simple request

Today we will take a unique look at the Second Luminous mystery and Christ’s first public miracle.

Scripture for Meditation: Isaiah: 1:2-3
Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth, for the Lord speaks; sons have I raised and reared, but they have disowned me! An ox knows its owner and an ass its master’s manger: But Israel does not know, my people have not understood.

The New Testament reveals this event: John 2:1-5
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had likewise been invited to the celebration. At a certain point the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus replied, “Woman, how does this concern of yours involve me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother instructed those waiting on table, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Fr. Robert Barron tells us: (Mary) is like the authors of the Psalms and the books of Wisdom and Proverbs, for she becomes the very seat of Wisdom. And she is like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel - the prophets who longed for the coming of the Messiah. This last connection can be seen very clearly in the account of the wedding feast at Cana in the Gospel of John. In the midst of their celebration (wedding banquets went on for days in first-century Palestine), a young couple runs out of wine, and Mary brings this problem to the attention of Jesus. We can read this story at the literal level and see Mary as graciously acting to spare the young people embarrassment, but we can also read it more symbolically and appreciate Mary as expressing the prophetic longing of Israel. Wine – delicious, refreshing, intoxicating – is a sign, throughout the Old Testament, of the divine life. Running out of wine, therefore, is an incisive description of the spiritual condition of Israel, alienated in its sin from God’s grace. In asking Jesus to act, Mary is acting in the rhythm and cadence of all the great prophets who continually called upon Yahweh to visit his people, and when she turns to the waiters and says, “Do whatever he asks,” she is summing up the instruction of every teacher, every patriarch and every prophet of Israel.
(Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, Robert Barron, Copyright 2011 by Word on Fire Ministries)

Prayer: Psalm 4: 7-9
Many say, “Oh, that we might see better times!” O Lord, let the light of your countenance shine upon us! You put gladness into my heart, more than when grain and wine abound. As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for you alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling.

My thoughts: Fr. Barron brings to light a new point for most of us: running out of wine is running out of the divine life. Mary knew that her son, and only her son, could bring divine life back into the world which Isaiah tells us had disowned God. The miracle Christ performed at Cana shows us the depth of Christ’s love for all of us. Even though it wasn’t His time, Jesus did not reject the request of His mother. He provided the best wine the guests had ever tasted, saving the day for them. Doesn’t He do that for us? Doesn’t He save us by changing our sinful lives into beautiful reflections of Himself? Mary shows us that all we have to do is ask Him to change us, to fill us with His grace, and He will do it.

Our prayer to God: Jesus, I bring you my soul, my sinfulness, my neediness. I ask you to fill me with your new life, your holy grace, your divine light. May I become a new person, in your image, filled with the choicest gift of your salvation. I give you my empty heart; please fill it with your love. Amen.

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