A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, age 5, and Ryan, age 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. "If Jesus were sitting here, he would say 'Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.' Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"
As the Christmas trees are down and the lights are put away and not a baby Jesus is to be found we see in today’s Gospel the baby Jesus that we just celebrated not too long ago is now an adult and is at a wedding. Well, everyone is having a good time as most weddings is usually a moment of great joy and celebration but there is something that worries the servers and is that there is no more wine, well this would be a disgrace for the family because of the culture depends so much on wine as I even experience it myself being in the Italian culture where wine is as important to your well being as the air that goes through your lungs. So Mary who we as Catholics believe is our great intercessor steps in and tries to help this situation. Now with Jesus’ response, “woman, how does your concern affect me?” This statement from Jesus might seem kind of rough especially speaking to your mother in that kind of language but Jesus doesn’t deny her request and performs this first miracle of changing water into wine.
Now the focus really of this Gospel account isn’t on marriage or on a miracle itself but we see Jesus’ glory and his self-giving. The sign at Cana discloses the glory of Jesus. Throughout the Gospel Jesus frequently speaks of his Father’s glory and of sharing that same glory; he speaks, too, of being glorified. The moment of his glorification on earth happens, paradoxically, when he is lifted up on the cross to die. In chapter 12, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (12:23-24). He says that the purpose of his coming was just this: to die on the cross and bear the fruit of eternal life for all who believe in him: “When I am lifted up from the earth (on the cross), I will draw everyone to myself” (12:32). Then, at the Last Supper just as Judas leaves to set in motion the final plans which will lead Jesus to his death, Jesus announces to his disciples, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (13:31). His death discloses his glory. In the other area we see Jesus’ self-giving. Putting the needs of others in front of his own needs and desires. This is typical of his entire ministry of self-giving which leads through death to life.
My brothers and sisters, I would like for us this morning to focus on self-giving. Now as many of you know the famous saying “time is money” and how true that is especially in today’s world were most people are working at least 40 hours if not more, running their children back and forth from this event to that event and so many other obligations that comes with family life.
This past week, I saw an incredible film that some of you probably have seen and the movie is titled “Pursuit of Happyness” The leading actor is Will Smith who plays Chris Gardner who makes “ends meet” by selling bone scanner machines to local hospitals and physicians but Chris desires to get a better paying job to support his wife and son but as the film continues his wife leaves him and his five year old son since she can’t seem to handle the situation . So Chris gets an internship at a stock brokage firm but the internship of 6 months doesn’t give him a salary so that leaves Chris still putting in full days at the stock brokage and to find time to sell his bone scanner machines so that he could still continue to support himself and his son.
The thing that struck me with this film was the character Chris who was an example of self-giving. He always made the sacrifices because he loved his son so very much. He made the sacrifice to stay with a firm that didn’t pay because he had a dream that he would get a better job. He made the sacrifice of going around the city of San Francisco and the bay area to sell his bone scanner machines so that he could support him and his son and still always made time to be with his son and even playing basketball or playing make believe with him.
My brothers and sisters we should look at our lives and ask ourselves have we become the self givers that we should be. First of all, let us begin with our families; have we devoted the time to spouses, children, other relatives that would need our time and assistance? In our work places, have we been their for our co-workers who might need our time, need a shoulder to cry on? In our communities, have we been there for our fellow townspeople that might need our financial assistance or simply a pat on the back or an embrace. In our nation, with many people who need our prayers and depend in our involvement in the political agenda not just by simply researching those candidates who are running for office but to be informed of what’s going on and making sure that our elected officials are serving the needs of our brothers and sisters. We need to be people that should make time. Yes, it’s difficult at times do make time but we must make time for the things that are important and matter the most.
St. Francis of Assisi who was the great example of self-giving said once, in his letter to the faithful, “we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and preserve in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The last line of that quotation, “they are spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.” My dear brothers and sisters we need to realize that we are all one big family and we need to help each other out when necessary. Let us look intently on our life and seriously ask ourselves if we are people that are self-giving and if we are not then let us be like Christ who at the Last Supper didn’t have one of the disciples wash his feet but instead got down on his knees and did the washing and once again became self giving and a servant of the servants of God.
Living Liturgy: Spirituality, Celebration, and Catechesis for Sundays and Solemnities, p. 41