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The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 16, 2022

Watch this homily!


    We move this Sunday into what the Church calls Ordinary Time. After the extraordinary celebrations of Advent and Christmastide – where the vestments went from violet to white and even gold – we’re back to green. Ordinary old green. Although, since green is the color of growth and of hope, maybe it’s really not so ordinary after all!

     And there’s certainly nothing ordinary about that gospel story we just heard, is there! Water becoming wine – gallons upon gallons of wine – and not just any old wine, we’re told, but “the best wine,” the very best wine, the kind that is normally served up front but which in this case didn’t make its appearance until quite late in the party.

     So, not so ordinary at all – especially when we reflect on the fact that the miracle at Cana – what John in his gospel calls the first of Jesus’ wondrous “signs” – the miracle at Cana was regarded from the very earliest days of the Church as an integral part – part three - of the great feast of Epiphany. Part One was the Visit of the Magi when Christ was manifested as the light for all peoples and nations, not just the ’Chosen Few’; and Epiphany Part Two was what we celebrated last Sunday – Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan where he was manifested as the Beloved Son in whom the Father was well pleased. And then we come to today - part three of the great Epiphany – another amazing manifestation where we find Jesus at a very human moment - the celebration of a wedding, and a potentially very embarrassing moment because the wine had run out - we find him revealing his glory, and his disciples believing in him. How could they not?

     It’s worth observing that parts one and two of the Epiphany are things that happened to Jesus. The Magi came from afar to visit him and offer their gifts; and John baptized him with his baptism of water and repentance. But at this third Epiphany Jesus is in charge. Very much in charge. His mother may have called his attention to the problem of the wine running out, but he was the one who, however reluctantly, steps forward and causes six large containers of ordinary old water to become this choice, rich vintage. In doing so, he not only reveals his glory, he also prepares people for wonders yet to come when other quite amazing things would happen: things like the lame walking, the blind seeing, the dead coming to life, a few loaves and fish becoming food for a great multitude, and simple bread and wine becoming his own Body and Blood. Epiphanies each one of them, and each a revelation of his glory.

     My friends, at the beginning of this New Year - fresh in the glow of the Christ of the Magi and the Christ in the waters of the Jordan - at the beginning of this new year, we have come together to celebrate Eucharist and as we do, we get to experience yet one more Epiphany. It’s as if the first two were not quite enough! The Christ of the Magi was an eye-opener and a mind-stretcher, for sure, and the Christ of the Baptism caused the very heavens to be opened up and God’s voice to be heard. But the great sign of Christ changing water into wine at the Cana wedding feast was unique because of the way that it revealed – in this most human of moments - the glory that belonged to Jesus as God’s own son in our human flesh.

     The glory of Jesus! That’s what we celebrate today. Think of the miracle at Cana as a hint, a foretaste, a foreshadowing of the glory that would be fully revealed in his saving passion, death, and resurrection. That’s when his “hour” that had “not yet come” would finally have come!

     Back to Ordinary Time. This particular year, our companion and guide through what the Church calls Ordinary Time will be St. Luke, the writer of the third gospel. On the Sundays to come, Luke will paint for us a compelling picture of the healing Christ, the compassionate Christ, the merciful Christ. He will do this with stories and parables that we find in none of the other three gospels and, and in doing so, he will turn Ordinary Time into something quite extraordinary. So, stay tuned!

     And now, in a departure from the ordinary, I’m going to invite you to stand and sing a familiar hymn that beautifully brings together and celebrates all three facets of the great Epiphany story. You’ll find the hymn in your order of celebration. Please stand.

Father Michael G. Ryan





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Seattle, Washington  98104
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