Sunday, January 17, 2010  Each gift is a gift to an individual to build up the Church.

Homily, January 17, 2010

Fr. Ed Oen, C.PP.S.

When we were youngsters, we enjoyed and memorized nursery rhymes about “Little Jack Horner, who sat in a corner”, “Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall”, “Jack and Jill fell down the hill”, “Mary had a little lamb”, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary”. These were seemingly simple messages. Actually, the nursery rhymes had different levels of meaning. Several of the nursery rhymes made fund of the kings and queens of England. “Jack fell down and broke his crown” refers to King John.

The Bible too has many stories that too appear to be simple but that have much deeper, multiple meanings. The story the Gospel of John has many layers of meaning. When John writes about Jesus saying the Son of Man has to be raised up, he’s talking about a person being raised up, nailed on a cross, and then he’s talking about being raised from the dead and then He’s being raised from the earth on the Ascension. 

Today’s Gospel seems to be a simple story about Jesus changing 120 gallons of water into choice wine to save the groom from embarrassment. Wedding ceremonies in that era lasted an entire week. They stayed home and provided food and wine. To run out of wine would have been a major embarrassment and cause of shame.

On another level, this is a comparison between Judaism and Christianity. So aside from saving the bridegroom from shame, Jesus also works this miracle so that his disciples would pledge allegiance and that Judaism and Christianity would be compared. The headwaiter announced that everyone had been served wine but that the good wine was served last. That good wine not only refers to the church that Jesus founded but it refers to the Holy Eucharist. The new wine refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit.  God fed the Hebrews manner in the desert. Jesus by comparison gives us new bread and new wine super-abundant for our souls. So Jesus has the new bread that is much better than the old manna.


Jesus also comes and sends his holy spirit and pours this new wine on the apostles at Pentecost as He pours new wine into our souls at Confirmation. Today’s second reading enumerates some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Each gift is a gift to an individual to build up the Church.



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