Homily 2nd Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle C January 20, 2019

The family dynamics in today’s Gospel are quite apparent. If there ever was a Gospel story on any given Sunday, or any weekday for that matter, that reveals the popular thought that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, this is number one on that list. The Wedding at Cana. The wine is running low, because the couple invited a bunch of guests who took their wine consumption very seriously. Free wine for everyone! “We can’t wait for that wedding in Cana, but we really can’t wait to indulge in the free wine,” is what the wedding attendants thought. “This is going to be a fun three days.” Except the pace of consuming the obviously delicious wine was that of a NASCAR Race. They hit the 200 MPH mark in their imbibing early in the wedding celebration, and ran out of gas – aka wine – earlier than expected. They needed more gas (wine) to finish this drinking race, but the contents were all consumed. (Are we sure the Wedding at Cana didn’t take place at a pub in Ireland?) Fortunately, the family invited to the wedding Venus, also known as Mary, the mother of Jesus. As mothers do, they become very concerned when some part of an important event is about to collapse, such as no wine for the world’s best wine-drinkers. A horror to someone like Mary, whose love and concern for all things good and proper is apparent. So, Venus turns to Mars, also known as Jesus, because she knows in her heart that he is, as she heard years ago, the cause for the rise and fall of many in Israel, which includes Cana. Mary does not want this Hebrew wedding to fall before it gets off the ground. So Venus says to Mars, “They have no wine.” Jesus gives the perfect Mars response; “Woman, how does that affect me? My hour has not yet come.” It seems like Jesus is saying – although this is really not what he’s saying, “How can those wedding people be so dumb and let the wine run out so soon?” What he’s really saying to his mother is, “The time for my great purpose – crucifixion – has not yet arrived. But since we have a lesser purpose before us here in Cana, let’s take care of it.” So, Mary, aka Venus, gives the attendants, and in fact the entire human race, her own commandment, “Do whatever he tells you.” Rightfully, we center our faith on the commandments of Christ. The right, healthy, and moral living; the Godly values; the personal respect and how to address any wine running low in our lives, brands of wine such as mercy; compassion; caring for the poor, the sick, and the elderly; loving neighbor and enemy, and so many other brands of wine commandments that Jesus teaches us. We rightfully center our lives on his shelf of various wines that bring peace, confidence in his way, and hope that no one else can offer for our good consuming. Even the brand of wine known as a Cross at times. However, this one commandment – this particular brand of wine – that Mary creates through the grace of her Son, is so necessary for our spiritual well-being. In her Venus role, her motherly, caring, wanting all things to be right and happy role, she speaks a “commandment of reminder” for the good of our faith journey; “Do whatever he tells you.” She’s not the voice of the Master Teacher. But she is the voice of one who knows him best, and better than we ever will. Venus has spoken, and Mars is going to do something about it. Jesus does not laugh off Mary’s intercession. He does not lack concern for the imbibing situation developing in his presence. He does not say, “Take care of it yourself.” He does not leave them in a position of asking, “What do we do next?” He takes control. But his control is not the typical macho man form of Mars; his “control,” if you will, is centered in love. This is where his form of being Mars is so radically different from guys like Herod and Pilate, like the Chief Priests and Pharisees, the crazy ones who use power to destroy others, or those who are so consumed with power, they will protect it to the point of crucifying an innocent man, when his hour does arrive. They make the lives of other people miserable. They set themselves up as false gods in the presence of the one true God. The brand of wine that Christ delivers is a brand that solves problems; a brand that walks with us with understanding and empathy; a brand that draws close to us in the way he drew close to the 2 disciples on the Road to Emmaus after his resurrection. His wine not only fixes the potential collapse of a marital relationship that he should be the center of, but his brand of wine addresses the greatest threat of all, original sin. His brand of wine is called justification, meaning we are now capable, through his hour and his power, to love him and neighbor. Herod and Pilate care nothing about this brand of wine. When they drink this sort of wine, they spit it back out. They hate the taste of it, as do all the Herod’s and Pilate’s in power today in our own country and throughout the world. We worship Christ because he gives us the good wine to drink. The best tasting wine for the human person, for the family, for our culture, for peace in our world, and for eternal life. Any wine you encounter that is outside of Christ, reject it! Listen to Venus; listen to Mary; “Do whatever he tells you.” He’s the only wine we need, aside of the Voice of Mary reminding us of who we listen to.