This Sunday the Church begins the first part of Ordinary Time which will last until Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The word, “ordinary” as used here does not mean unimportant. It is derived from the word, “ordinal” which means,”counted.” These are the counted Sundays of the year. Although the Christmas Season is over, the Lectionary refuses to completely let go of the revelation themes of the Christmas Season quite yet. This Sunday’s celebration will focus on the revelation of Jesus to the disciples. It is in today’s Gospel reading that the last recorded words of Mary in the Scriptures are found. She tells the waiters, “Do whatever He tells you.” That was good advice for them and it is good advice for us too. In what ways has Jesus revealed Himself to me and how well have I done whatever He tells me?
First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
1 For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. 2 Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD. 3 You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God. 4 No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. 5 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.
NOTES on First Reading:
* 62:1 The vindication of Zion breaks forth with the suddenness of a desert dawn.
* 62:2 The new name is a figurative expression for a new state of happiness. See Rev 2:17; 3:12.
* 62:3 The reference is to the ancient idea of a god wearing a crown patterned after the city walls. The Lord is portrayed as holding such a crown in His hand.
* 62:4 Such names are known in Israelite history: 1 Kings 22:42; 2 Kings 21:1.
* 62:5 The theme of Yahweh as spouse is repeated from Isa 49:14; 50:1.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 5 there are different forms of service but the same Lord; 6 there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 7 To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; 10 to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
NOTES on Second Reading:
* 12:4-6 There are some features common to all charisms, despite their diversity: all are gifts (charismata), grace from outside ourselves; all are forms of service (diakoniai), an expression of their purpose and effect; and all are workings (energemata), in which God is at work. Paul associates each of these aspects with what later theology will call one of the persons of the Trinity. This is an early example of “appropriation.”
*12:7 As all of the gifts have a common origin they also have a common goal and purpose for which the Spirit gives them.
* 12:8-10 The list of gifts is not exhaustive and precise definitions are not possible. Many of the meanings assumed by various charismatic groups are probably overly restrictive and arbitrary compared to Paul’s wider and less restrictive categories.
* 12:11 Since all of the gifts are activated by the Spirit in His own way and for His own purposes no one should find reason for pride in any of the gifts.
Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. 9 And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.
12 After this, he and his mother, (his) brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there only a few days.
NOTES on Gospel:
* 2:1-12:50 This section of the Gospel of John is often called “the Book of Signs”. “Sign” (semeion) is John’s word for Jesus’ wondrous deeds. John never calls them miracles. They reveal Jesus as the Messiah to Israel and signify God’s intervention in human history in a new way through Jesus. The Exodus story (see Deut 11:3; 29:2) forms the backdrop against which these signs are to be viewed.
* 2:1-11 This passage presents the first sign. It is the story of water being turned into wine. However, this was not any ordinary water but water for Jewish ceremonial washings (John 2:6). Furthermore it was not turned into ordinary wine but wine of the highest quality and of amazing quantity. Both of these were Messianic expectations. The other Gospels have no parallel to this story.
* 2:1 Cana does not appear in the Old Testament. Mary is always referred to as the mother of Jesus in John’s Gospel. She is never called by name in John.
* 2:4 This verse may have been intended to contrast with apocryphal gospels which showed Jesus working miracles to help his family and friends. “Woman” is a normal, polite form of address, but except for this passage it is unknown in reference to one’s mother. See also John 19:26. Since the beginning of John’s gospel is patterned after the Genesis account of creation it may be a purposeful use of the language of Genesis where Eve is referred to as “the woman”. “How does your concern affect me?” is literally, “What is this to me and to you?”–a Hebrew expression of either hostility as in Jdgs 11:12; 2 Chron 35:21; 1 Kings 17:18 or denial of common interest as in Hosea 14:9; 2 Kings 3:13. In Mark 1:24; 5:7 it is said by demons to Jesus. The “hour” that Jesus speaks of in John is always that of His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension.
* 2:6 The size of the jars is stated literally as “two or three measures”. A typical liquid measure contained 39.39 liters. This means that Jesus provided 125 to 187 gallons of wine to the party which was probably already approaching the end. The vast quantity recalls prophecies of abundance in the last days; See Amos 9:13-14; Hosea 14:7; Jer 31:12.
* 2:8 The man referred to as the “Headwaiter” is the official who managed the banquet, but such a functionary is not known in Palestine from other sources. It most likely was a function performed by a friend of the family who may have acted as master of ceremonies; see Sirach 32:1.
* 2:11 This was the first of seven signs presented by John.
* 2:12 The next three episodes take place in Jerusalem. Only the first is paralleled in the synoptic gospels. John does not portray Jesus as being in Capernaum for an extended time of ministry as do the synoptic gospels.</FONT
Scripture text: New American Bible with revised New Testament copyright © 1986,1970, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
Vince Del Greco
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1990) (Eds. Brown, Fitzmyer & Murphy)