SERMON IN CR CHURCH; SUNDAY 17 JANUARY 2016

EPIPHANY 2; YEAR C.

Isaiah 62:1-5    Ps 36: 5-10    1 Cor 12:1-11    John 2: 1-11

Both New Testament  readings are an absolute gift, two of the most important, most memorable passages in the whole Bible. The Old Testament from Isaiah is equally striking, so itís difficult to know what to say, or rather what NOT to say

Isaiah speaks of Israel as of a woman caught in adultery, who is restored by her Lord to her joyful innocence of long ago, when she was first the virgin spouse of God. That can speak to all of us, especially us oldies: God restores us to the innocence of our childhood. Thatís His promise, to be taken absolutely seriously.

The n weíre given the marvellous passage from Corinthians, about spiritual gifts. The life of the spirit, the spiritual life, is of course open to all, whether Christian or not, for instance pagans who worship gods who are not gods make much of the gift of ecstasy. That gift is open to us Christians too but we need to take care we use it as coming from our own Lord and not from elsewhere. We need always to be wary not only of ecstasy but even of certainty. Some people are sure they are called by God to do or say this or that Ė we need to be wary that itís not just our own competiveness which is calling us to speak or act.

Paul lists what are the gifts that come from God and which emphatically donít. Itís not an exhaustive list but gives us guidelines, not to act or speak without careful reflection.

The Psalm appointed - although not read today we are familiar with and itís a gift too: ďhow priceless is your gift O God! Your people Ö feast upon the abundance of your house, you give them drink from the river of your delights.Ē (from Ps 36)

The n we have this wonderful Wedding in Cana story. The yíre running out of wine: what a disgrace. However, is it really Jesusí job to do something about it, as clearly his dear Mother thinks. Is he a grocer or wine merchant? ďWhatís that to you and me?Ē.

Then, because Jesus has the mind of God, on further reflection, his compassion kicks in. What happens is a foretaste of the Kingdom which Jesus comes to bring in, a foretaste of the Messianic banquet, abundant wine, symbol of the last day, when good things will never run out again.

The se images of abundance are not so mouth-wateringly desirable for us affluent westerners as they were in the ancient world, where almost everyone lived below the breadline, not sure where their next meal is coming from. Yet there are plenty who live in similar conditions today, or worse. Jesus is always seeking to do what the Father wants, not just to supply an immediate shortage of groceries, so he hesitates because his time has not yet come. 

What is that time? It is when he dies on the Cross, thatís when his glory, his full and complete nature, his full and complete message, will be revealed.  Jesus at last revealed for what he is, the Word of God, the Word made flesh, dying for each one of us, we matter so much to him, each one of us worth  more than the whole world and the whole world worth dying for, all the people on it, whether they know him or not

        Antony Grant CR