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“My hour has not yet come”

January 26, 2013

Something from last Sunday’s gospel – the Wedding at Cana……

My homily on this gospel is shown in my blog below called “Heaven will be fun”

PART ONE…….

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This is a very significant reference to the crucifixion – right at the beginning of His ministry the prospect of the cross looms over Him.

And it is Mary [knowing very well that her own ‘heart will be pierced’] who is ‘persistent in her prayer’ to Jesus – setting her own Son on the path to Calvary.

So this is the moment that Jesus’ public ministry starts, And God’s redemptive work to rectify the effects of ‘The Fall’  (initiated by Eve’s disobedience) is itself prompted by the deliberate action of  ‘the Second Eve’.

PART TWO…..

@towardsthetiber made the following comment on Twitter after I’d posted a link to what I had written above.

“Thank you very much! Was struggling to find info about it. Our Lord’s answer clearer now, although still a bit confused. about why He says ‘my hour is not yet come’ but then performs the miracle. Was he always intending to do it do you think?”

@LozzeEngland then replied, ” Because the Lord commanded the Lord to honour His Mother.”

I think that’s a good answer.

But I think there is something deeper here for us to learn – it goes beyond Jesus simply honouring His mother.

Strangely, this very subject came up this morning at our Parish RCIA session, which was about prayer.

This part of the Wedding at Cana story teaches us about prayer. One aspect of prayer is about asking God for help. One of the reasons we can pray to Jesus with confidence is because He is the visible God – He is both divine and human. Being divine He can do things that are beyond us; being human He understands what we are and how we feel: we can see that He can identify with our human condition. As a human being, He is perfectly capable of being persuaded. He can change His mind.

Jesus is truly God and truly man, and the story of His mother persisting in getting Him to do something is an example of a situation where Jesus has been persuaded by someone to change His mind. There are other examples of Jesus changing His mind in the bible – do you remember the incident with a Canaanite woman who pleaded with Jesus to cure her daughter? (You can look it up in Matthew 15:21ff). At first Jesus didn’t even answer her plea. He ignored her. But she persisted in calling after Him, and His disciples tried to persuade Him to do something, because she was causing a disturbance. He refused to act.

Then came the crunch moment: she came up to him and knelt at His feet, begging for help. Jesus said to the woman,  “It’s not fair that to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs” – basically telling her quite curtly that He had come for the Chosen People, not foreigners. [My goodness, this is pretty strong language by our modern standards.]

But quick as a flash she comes back at Him: “Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from the Master’s table.”

Jesus was persuaded BY HER FAITH and BY HER PERSISTENCE. So He then intervened, performing a miracle and curing the woman’s daughter.

[Our Lord taught elsewhere about the need for us to persistently  pray with faith in God – have a look at Luke 18:1-8.]

Going even deeper, I think these are marvellous examples of the New Covenant with god. Through Jesus Christ we are now privileged to be part of the creative, guiding force that is God. As humans, through Jesus, we have become God ‘adopted children’. We are allowed a closer, more intimate relationship with God. We can pray as individuals and as a Church (that’s very important) for God to intervene in what happens in this world and the next.

You asked whether Jesus was always intending to perform the miracle of changing water in to wine.

The teaching of the Catholic Church opposes “determinism” – it teaches that we all can choose freely whether or not to co-operate with God. If everything were determined in advance, we might as well all be robots or cabbages! If humans didn’t have such free choice, we would have absolutely no responsibility for anything we either did or didn’t do – we’d all live in a moral vacuum, because whatever choices we made in life, what happened in the end would have nothing to do with us, because God had already decided what was going to happen.

No, I don’t think He started out with the intention that day in Cana to perform a miracle. I think he had arrived at that wedding reception with the intention of having some time off, enjoying some fun with His friends. I don’t think Jesus (God) would tease us by pretending He was not going to do anything. I think Jesus fully intended not to intervene and let events take their course. But He changed His mind. That was His free choice as a human being. But then He was persuaded to intervene because He was convinced after hearing persistent “prayers” (i.e. being asked to do  something).

This same principle applies to our prayers today.

It’s pointless praying if you don’t believe in God, or if you lack faith that your prayers will make any difference.

Prayer is meaningless gibberish if it’s just words being read out mechanically, empty words, repeated without any meaningful thought. You might as well put on a CD of prayers and have it on continuous play. That’s just plain silly, and a complete waste of time. Prayer is either about a personal relationship with God or it is nothing.

Effective praying requires FAITH in Jesus ability to answer the prayer. In other words, we believe Jesus is God, and we act accordingly – we speak to Jesus respectfully but confidently through prayer when we have a cause that we believe requires His involvement.

Thanks for the questions. They have made me think. And as you can see, they sparked something in me, and I warmed to my subject!

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