Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Day Gift From A Grateful Son

Upon becoming a deacon candidate, my mother confided in me her dream to be married in the Catholic Church by her son, a deacon. Should that blessed day come with God's good graces, I created a homily for her.

It actually started as our homily assignment for this month's deacon formation weekend. We were asked to create a wedding homily. I could think of no better way to do it. Happy Mother's Day, mom.

Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11 (Wedding At Cana)

Miracles happen in all of our lives. Sometimes we have eyes to see. Faith helps open our eyes to see even better the miracles happening all around us.

The union we witness today is proof of God’s abundance of miracles. Christ is turning water into wine with this perfect union, this miracle of new life together in Christ.

When we prepare sacraments of bread and wine in a few moments I want you the pay close attention to when the gifts are being prepared at the altar.

There is a moment when a drop of water is placed into the wine cup. This drop of water signifies our humanity being placed into the divinity of Christ, signified by the wine in the chalice. It’s a blessed moment worthy of reflection.

The priest’s words are: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.”

Local Catholic author Dr. Tom Curran wrote about this in his book “The Mass: Four Encounters With Jesus That Will Change Your Life.”

He says, “the wine is the divinity of Christ, and we are the water. It is as if our spiritual self-offering (our “pouring out”) at Mass represented by tasteless, colorless water is immersed in the robust flavorful wine of Christ’s self-offering on the Cross. What happens to the water when it’s poured into the wine? It is totally dissolved into the wine and ‘becomes wine.’ That’s what will happen at Mass: our self-offering is going to be immersed into Christ’s.”

How appropriate that Christ’s first public miracle is turning water into wine. But not without a little reluctance to His Mother’s request. His “hour has not yet come.”

By turning water into wine, Christ demonstrates for us how He can turn our ordinary humanity into the divine.

And that’s what’s happening at this beautiful wedding of this woman and this man. Their self-offering is going to be immersed into Christ’s self-offering. In it will become a divine unity of woman and man for all eternity. Now, that’s a miracle, my dear friends. Watch. And we all get to witness this miracle.

Each and every one of us has placed in our hearts a desire for the divine. Sometime during our lives we awaken. Perhaps our awakening comes in the form of a desire to understand something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with life that we need to hand it over to a higher power and ask for help. Sometimes we witness a beautiful sunrise over Mt. Rainier on a clear day and feel the presence of the divine. Sometimes just experiencing the wonder of the love we feel for another can make it happen. We awaken.

God leaves a calling card on all our hearts. He plants a divine drop of wine into each of our souls. This drop is the reverse of the drop of water going into the wine. It’s a drop of the divine wine going into the human waters of our souls.

The miracle is when Christ goes into action and turns our own water into wine.

Scientifically speaking, the average human being is comprised of nearly two thirds water. Babies and young children are made up of nearly three quarters water. That’s a lot of water in our human jug.

But just as Christ turned water into wine at the Wedding at Cana, Christ can perform a miracle in each of us. He can turn our water into wine. He can turn our humanity into divinity. He can perform a miracle in our lives.

The wedding at Cana miracle was witnessed by His mother. A mother’s love for a child is as close to perfect love as we see in our lifetimes. I am reminded of the power of that love every time I see the most moving scene in the movie “The Passion Of The Christ.”

When Jesus is carrying His cross to Calvary He trips and falls on the narrow streets of Jerusalem. His mother is struggling with what’s happening to her son. She is overwhelmed with grief. She cannot bear it anymore. In that moment, as she sees her son stumble, Mary is reminded of a time when Jesus as a little boy fell down and hurt Himself and remembers running to Him to pick Him up and hold Him. In that beautiful moment, Mary has the strength to overcome her grief and anguish and rush to her son. As she approaches, Mary says, “I’m here… I’m here…” the same words she said to her son when He fell as a little boy.

In His pain and His suffering, Jesus tenderly touches her face, looks her in the eyes and says the words that should awaken each of our souls, “See Mother, I make all things new.”

His hour is finally upon us.

His perfect sacrifice calls to mind the perfect sacrifice we are all asked to make to one another; the perfect sacrifice we witness today in the joining this woman and this man.

So, today, my dear mother, you give yourself to Joaquin as a sacrifice of love. Joaquin, you give yourself to Suzanne as a sacrifice of love. Your humanity and divinity are about to come into a perfect union. It’s a perfect sacrifice signifying the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

And Christ is present here. He’s blessing this marriage and turning the water of your humanity into divine wine here at this wedding. We may not be in Cana. We are in Seattle. But we are witnessing a living miracle. What an honor it is for this son to bear witness to this divine moment.

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