2nd Sunday Year C - Homily 4

Homily 4 - 2019

There is a signpost on the Pyrenees Highway between Ararat and Avoca that points to a place called “Nowhere Creek”. There is another one on the same highway pointing to “Paradise”. And Google Maps offer to pinpoint both destinations! Road-signs are helpful, but they are not the destination. There is a sign outside the church here saying “St Mary’s Church”, but the sign is not the church.

St John told us that the goings-on recounted in today’s Gospel passage were a sign; so it was not the miracle that mattered, important as it was for the wedding-guests, but the reality it was pointing to. The sign was water becoming wine – but it was more. It was a whole village being able really to enjoy themselves – but it was more than that. It was a whole village being able to share and to encourage the joy of two young people who had discovered each other, who loved each other, and who were pledging to love for life – for better and for worse. All that was the sign. And the reality it pointed to, what Jesus was to make possible, was a whole world able to rejoice, to rejoice in each other and to recognize that the secret to it all was love. That, simply, is the world redeemed, saved from itself, set free from its ancient, originating sin.

Let us keep looking – more closely. Jesus provided the wine. Jesus, however, could not rejoice on behalf of other people. Everyone had to do that for themselves – but they could not do it alone, by themselves. It was the experience of the “rejoicing together” that was the essence of the joy. When we can all rejoice together, we shall know that we are redeemed. And Jesus will be leading the dance.

As Jesus’ public life unfolded, his every action showed forth that joyful love – but people wouldn’t see. He explained it and teased it out at length – but they would not listen. Their hearts were closed, and they would not convert and be healed. They killed him eventually. But they could not suppress Jesus’ joyful love. He still led the dance from the cross with his last ounce of human energy. Even there he was deeply compassionate; he kept on forgiving; he trusted his God and God’s way of love; and with his last breath, he handed over his Spirit to the sinful world that he still loved.

At Cana, Jesus worked a sign, a miraculous sign, of human redemption. He could do that miracle because he was also divine. Mary, the Woman, the New Eve, had no share in Jesus’ miraculous power. But when Jesus’ hour came, the time for the real thing, for the climax of the cooperative work of Jesus and the whole human race in the work of human redemption, it was the vulnerable, but perfectly human Jesus who, through his suffering and death, was at work there. Mary, who had nothing to do with his divinity, had everything to do with his humanity. Without her, no human Jesus, no dying Jesus, no human redemption. Woman, mother of the new humanity, behold your son!

The work still carries on. The human race still needs to agree to dance with Jesus – to expand to the scale of the world the love and the joy, the cooperation of everyone with everyone, signified that day in Cana, that little non-descript village of Galilee.

His disciples believed in him – they’d give it a go. And ourselves? To experience redemption, to know happiness, we don’t need everyone to tango with us – though it would be more wonderful if they did [and will be complete only when they do]. We already have enough for happiness – we have the power to love. We need to keep on practising, to find our heart and set it free – to see everything as the gift it is, and school ourselves to be grateful, always grateful.