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2nd Sunday of OT 2016

Wedding Feast at Cana

It is good to be back with you from my trip to the Holy Land, the place where Jesus walked. It is a very powerful experience when you actually see the places where Jesus was born in Bethlehem, where he grew up in Nazareth, the mountain where he was tempted by the devil, the different towns where he preached around the Sea of Galilee. We spent several days in the city of Jerusalem seeing the Upper Room where Jesus had the Last Supper with his disciples, the Garden of Gethsemane, following the Way of the Cross, seeing Golgotha where they crucified Jesus and the tomb where he was buried and rose from the dead. One of the high points for me personally was celebrating Mass inside the tomb. I certainly had all of you in my prayers during the pilgrimage.

It is said that the Holy Land is the Fifth Gospel because it makes the events of the Bible come alive. Jesus chose specific spots to do certain miracles or give different sermons and so the terrain, the mountains, the valleys all are a part of the Good News he proclaimed. He really did come to our world. And why, because he loves us and wants to have a deep and personal relationship with us. We heard the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah:

“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”… “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.”

It might be hard for us to think in those terms but God does love us that much, like the love between a young bridegroom and bride. He wants to espouse us, and if we receive his love we become holy. That is why the land of Jesus is called the Holy Land. One of the first places we visited was a church in Cana, the city where today’s Gospel takes place. It is about 4 miles

north of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. It was at Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle by changing water into wine. And it is very significant that it occurred at a wedding feast. All the married couples on our pilgrimage had the opportunity to renew their wedding vows and it was a beautiful service.    

There is so much we can learn from this event in the Gospel. The presence of Jesus shows that he is a part of our life. He wants to be a part of the most important moments. He reveals how much he promotes marriage. Our world is rejecting marriage and redefining marriage. But what happens is that when we reject marriage as a permanent bond between one man and one woman, we reject God’s help, his loving plan, and the power of his grace to help us. In the sacrament of marriage, God takes natural love between a man and woman, and through the power of his grace, makes it supernatural, like turning water into wine. Only God can do that. And so only God can make a man and woman into one flesh. That is why it is called Holy Matrimony. The grace of Jesus that comes through the Sacrament makes the couple holy. That is why marriage in the court and marriage in the Church are very different. And that is also why it is so important for couples to invite Jesus to be a part of their lives, to be a guest at their wedding.

There was another important guest at the wedding: “the mother of Jesus”, the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was Mary who recognized the crisis and said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Mary isn’t God, but she is the Mother of God and nobody is closer to Jesus than Mary. So she intercedes for us and asks Jesus to help us. That is why it so important for us to be close to Mary. That is why I invited all parishioners to begin 33 days of preparation for Total Consecration to Mary which began last Saturday which leads up to Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11th. You can use the book, or pray the Rosary each day to help prepare you, or read and meditate everyday on today’s Gospel John Chapter 2:1-11. Mary gives us some very good advice in the Gospel. She says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Sometimes we do not understand Jesus. Sometimes we do not understand the teachings of the Church, the sacraments and all the different rites that we have. We may ask “Is it really necessary to go to confession, to go to Mass, to pray, to get married in the Church?” We are weak. We doubt. So Mary is here to help us to have faith, to trust in Jesus, and to “Do whatever he tells you.”

The Devil gives us the opposite advice: He says: “Do not do what he tells you.” We know that the Devil does not want us to follow Jesus because he eventually wants to destroy human life. He has already influenced the destruction of the fruit of marriage through abortion, which is the destruction of human life. Now through the redefinition of marriage he wants to prevent human life from taking place at all. This Thursday I am taking a trip to Washington D.C. with our Youth Group to the March for Life which is on the Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion. The U.S. bishops have made it a day of praying and fasting like we do on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. So we have to pray to Jesus and Mary for life and marriage.   Again we ask Mary to help us protect the unborn and say "yes" to God's gift of life as she did with Jesus.

So I want to close by thanking all coupes who have chosen to get married in the Church and to be open to life, and to all couples who are planning to get married in the Church. I prayed for you in a special way at Cana. You are like the “good wine” that Jesus produces in the Gospel. And it is not easy being married and having a family. It is a great sacrifice. And that is why the Devil tempts us to do something else, to take the easy way and to not sacrifice. But that is why Jesus’ miracle did not just produce a couple of gallons of wine but nearly 200 gallons because he provides more than enough grace. And we know that the miraculous wine that Jesus ultimately wants to give us to espouse us is the Blood of the Eucharist which comes from the Cross. Love is only true love when there is a sacrifice. Therefore, let us ask Mary to help us to keep doing whatever Jesus tells us to do so we can receive his grace and become holy. Amen.

Father Timothy J. Gallagher

1-16-16


St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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