Archive for January, 2007

Another Wedding at Cana Homily

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Click here to read the homily I preached three years ago on this same Sunday.  It is one of my personal favorites!

Homily — 2nd Sunday OT C January 14, 2007

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Homily — 2nd Sunday OT C                 January 14, 2007

wedding at cana icon in st seraphim orthodox cathedral dallas tx

They have no wine. . . .

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Church has been very chronological in her Liturgies lately.

Three weeks ago, on Christmas, we meditated on Jesus’ first day of life outside the womb — a day of angels, shepherds and barnyard animals.

Then on New Years Day at Mass, the Lord reached his 8th Day after birth — a day of his Circumcision and of his being named Jesus.

Last Sunday on the Epiphany, Jesus reached 12 days old, a day filled with stars, and Magi, and camels.

And finally, last Monday we zoomed ahead and saw Jesus reach age 30, a day of Baptism for the Lord.

Today in the Liturgy, Jesus reaches drinking age.  And as we see in the Gospel, it is a day of great miracles and conversions.

Spurred on by His Mother’s prompting, Jesus,
the God-Man, for the very first time manifests to us what happens when He drinks.  Not when He drinks earthly spirits, but what happens when He drinks of the potent Holy Spirit given to Him at Baptism.

For 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, Our Lord had kept this Spirit bottled up.  Satan tried to get Jesus to drink in front of him, so that the stones would turn into bread, but Jesus refused to drink of the Spirit for him.

But while Satan spends forty days trying, and fails to move Jesus, Mary says four words, and succeeds in swaying Christ.

They have no wine, my Son.  But you have got some on you, don’t you?  Take out that private stash of yours, and use it!”

So Jesus, always obedient to His Mother’s wishes, pops the cork and drinks in the Spirit the Father had been brewing for Him from all eternity.    And filled with that Spirit, Christ turns 180 gallons of ordinary water into the finest of wine ever tasted.  And His disciples began to believe the Gospel says.

And for the next 3 years, on each page of the Gospel, we see Jesus taking frequent nips of that Spirit and then proceeding to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, and preach with authority.

And after Jesus is raised from the dead and Ascends to Heaven, all by the power of that Holy Libation, on Pentecost Sunday He empties the bottle and pours out the Spirit in its fullness upon His Bride the Church.

Scripture tells us that when people saw the disciples filled with the Spirit for the first time, they said “they are drunk with too much new wine.” (Acts 2:13)   To which Peter replied “Not the kind of new wine you’re thinking of, but Repent and be baptized . . . .and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and drink of it yourself!!!”

And hopefully my brothers and sisters, all of us here drink heavily on a regular basis, of Holy Spirit that is.

Hopefully we are always caught acting under the influence of that Spirit, in what the Church Fathers of ancient times and Pope Benedict of our time call “sober inebriation”, which Benedict says “surpass(es) the possibilities of mere rationality” and makes us ascend to the realm of Divine Love and Divine Reason in our very being (cf. Pope’s book “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, p. 140).

But as we reflect on this great brew Jesus gave us at our Confirmation, we also should remember that drinking alone is a bad thing.    St. Paul in the second reading says that To each individual . . . the Spirit is given for some (common) benefit. We are all given to drink of the one Spirit, Paul says, but we are to drink not alone but together, for the building up of the body of Christ (Eph 4.11).

None of us has all the Spiritual gifts we need to make it through life.  We all need to lean on each other and share our Spiritual gifts with each other.  That’s one reason why its so important to come together every Sunday and worship together as a parish, and also why its important to have good Catholic friends and mentors, whether they are priests, religious, or lay people.

And so, my brothers and sisters in Christ (or maybe I should say “my drinking buddies in Christ”!), never again should our Holy Mother Mary have to say those words to her Son:   They have no wine.  For now the wine of the Spirit will flow out in abundance for all believers who invoke the Holy Spirit.

May the Blood, Body, Soul and Divinity of Jesus that today comes to us in the Holy Eucharist fill us to the brim with that New Wine of the Spirit, and may He remind us that if we always drink heavily of His heavenly Spirit (but moderately of earthly spirits), the best wine will be yet to come, in this life and in the next.

Baptism of the Lord — January 8, 2007

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Click here for my 2004 homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord — it is a really good one!

Homily — Epiphany January 7, 2007

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Homily — Epiphany MMVII January 7, 2007

adoration of the magi by giotto 14 century

They opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Today the Magi, the Wise Men, present those famous gifts, the first three Christmas presents ever given, to the Baby Jesus.

Most of the time, when we think of those three gifts, we think of what they symbolize in the life of Christ: Gold for the Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; Frankincense for the All– Powerful, Only True God that Jesus Is; and Myrrh, an embalming spice, for Jesus the sacrificial Lamb of God, whose passion and death will take away the sins of the world.

But while those three gifts are an Epiphany, a Manifestation of who Christ is, they are also an Epiphany or Manifestation of who we are, when we, like the wise men, offer these gifts to Christ.

St. Matthew tells us the Magi opened their treasures and offered Jesus these gifts. The wise men possessed these three things, they were truly treasures that they carried around with them at all times.

The first treasure the Magi offer is Gold, the most precious of earthly metals. The Gold offered is a symbol of the most precious of earthly gifts given to us by God — our Life.

Jesus said I came that they may have life, and have it to the fullest. In confirmation class this week we are studying the 5th Commandment — Thou Shalt not Kill. The flip side of the 5th Commandment is “Thou shalt be alive!”

And Jesus calls each and every one of us to offer Him not Bronze, not even Silver, but Gold — using our God given talents, our minds, bodies, and hearts to their full potential. The Baby Jesus manifests to us this Epiphany that there is precious Gold within each one of us, gold that needs to shine out and give glory to God.

The second treasure the Magi offer is Frankincense, which rises up to Heaven as a sweet smelling oblation to God.

Not only do we possess the Gold of an earthly body, we also possess an even greater treasure: the Frankincense of a spiritual, immortal soul.

In the words of St. Augustine, every man’s soul has a capax Dei — a capacity for God. Only God can satisfy this need in us for God. That’s why the wise men leave everything and journey long distances in the night to kneel before the creche.

Jesus wants us all to offer Him the Frankincense of a daily prayer life, seeking Him daily in the silence of our hearts. Those ten minutes we spend each daily praying the Rosary or reading the scriptures are like incense going up to Jesus. He most especially wants us to gather as the Body of Christ each Sunday and offer the Frankincense of our souls before the Altar of God in Holy Mass. And at least once or twice a year, if not more often, we should smoke up the confessional by unburdening the sins of our souls to Jesus in the Sacrament of Peace.

The third and final gift the Magi offer Jesus is Myrrh. And just as the Myrrh symbolizes in Jesus the Cross He would bear for our salvation, in the same way, the Myrrh symbolizes in us the Crosses we bear in this life.

This third Gift is in a way the greatest of Epiphanies, the greatest of revelations: Jesus today shows us that our Crosses aren’t scandals to run away from but treasures to be embraced.

And in a way, this is the most valuable of the three treasures we possess. Because at the end of our life, the Gold of our talents and health will slip away from us, the Frankincense of the ability to consciously pray to God will also diminish as death draws near. The only treasure we will have to offer Jesus is the Myrrh of the Old Rugged Cross.

But for every pound of Myrrh we offer Jesus in this life, we get a hundred times it’s weight in incorruptible Gold and Frankincense in the next.

My brothers and sisters in Christ! On this Holy Solemnity of the Epiphany, may the treasures of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh God has blessed each of us with not stay locked up and buried deep in our hearts, as they do in the hearts of the foolish.

Rather may we be like those wise men the Gospel today praises, who opened their treasures wide, and offered Him in abundance those three most precious of gifts fit for a King, a God, and a Savior.