Jesus makes use of “six stone water jars … for Jewish ceremonial washings.” Could this be another way of saying that he is abolishing neither the law nor the prophets? But with the water turning into wine, is it not being reiterated that there is a substantial difference between Jesus’ full observance and the customary observance of his fellow Jews?
Indeed, a different righteousness is expected of the disciples. Unless their righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, they shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Without a better righteousness, even the circumcised cannot belong to the community with “a new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.”
But what is really important is neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but only a new creation. And those who are in Christ are a new creation.
So, to welcome Jesus is to welcome something never ever seen or heard. Though surprising, it is really a small matter not to abide by the usual practice of serving the good wine first and saving the inferior one for the end. What is truly significant and awesome is that Jesus, in word and action, turns everything upside-down.
He teaches: blessed are the poor, the hungry, those who mourn, are hated, excluded, insulted; woe to those who are rich, affluent, filled, who laugh and have no pains and receive compliments; to lose is to gain; the last are the first and they will be compensated as much as the laborers of the first hour; the great ones are the slaves who sacrifice themselves for others. It is clear, then, in what the new that Jesus lives and proclaims consists.
And we are Christians only to the extent that, made new by the Spirit for all forms of service, we put on the new self, created in the image of the one who is the image of the invisible God. If we who are invited continue to wear the old self, we will not be counted among those chosen to take part in the new rite of fresh bread and new wine, to which the ancient and customary rites give way.
Rightly does St. Vincent de Paul exhorts us, “Let us go then and be about serving the poor with new love, looking for the poorest and the most abandoned” (SV.FR XI:393). Those who are filled with such love surely point both to the newness that Jesus exudes and to a peaceful and confident faith that has a foretaste of Jesus’ awesome hour.
Lord Jesus, grant us new birth.
January 17, 2016
2nd Sunday in O.T. (C)
Is 62, 1-5; 1 Cor 12, 4-11; Jn 2, 1-12