The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 20, 2013

    The Epiphany of the Lord, in addition to the Adoration of the Magi that we celebrated on January 6, actually includes the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding at Cana. All these moments in Jesus’ life manifest God’s glory.
    When John Paul II created the Luminous Mysteries, he introduced the Baptism of the Lord and the Wedding at Cana as the first two mysteries so we could meditate on them more often.
    In contemplating the Mystery of the wedding at Cana, we can understand two things. First, we see how insufficient the human condition is. Second, we see that Jesus brings the incompleteness of human beings to completion.
    The wedding feast started and the wine ran short. The lack of wine symbolizes the experience that we all have that something is always missing in our lives. Even when we could have everything, there is always the feeling that what we have is not enough. Are you fully satisfied with your life, circumstances, job and family? We are never totally satisfied. There is always the thirst for something else. The sadness and melancholy that we feel so many times are symptoms of that lack. We need more but that “more” can neither be achieved by our own efforts nor can another give it to us. This is the human condition.
    However, Mary says to Jesus: “They have no wine.” Her statement spurs Jesus to act. God has compassion for our emptiness. He came to fill our emptiness with abundant life.
We are not alone with our sad fate. Jesus and Mary are present in the core of humanity. They are present at the feast where the wine is lacking, where the experience of happiness is insufficient. There is hope! At that wedding, the wine was scarce and of poor quality. So is our life without Christ.
    “Do whatever he tells you.” That is the path to solve the problem. The solution is to follow what the Master tells us to do. The servers prepare the jars with water. Jesus’ miracle does not exclude the necessity for us to make our contribution, even when we can only give water, a substance without color or taste. It is from our nothing that God can make everything happen.
    The miracle happened and the headwaiter is amazed by the quality of the new wine. The rule is broken: instead of starting with the good wine and later serving wine of inferior quality, now the order is reversed!
    If we do what He tells us to do, a miracle happens: we move from the least to the most. There is an absolute positivity in following Christ.
The error of modern culture has been to separate God from our happiness. Many times we think that what God asks us is against our interests. There is nothing more untrue than this!
Let us ask Our Lady to obtain for us the grace of experiencing that Jesus truly fulfills our insufficient human condition.
Amen.


The Baptism of the Lord – January 13, 2013

“[…] After all the people had been baptized and Jesus had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened […].” Jesus’ baptism opened Heaven to us all. For each of us, the day of our baptism was the moment when Heaven was opened for us. Since that day, God’s infinite mercy entered our lives. The continual rediscovery of this reality allows us to change, to become better persons.

Last Friday, I went to see the movie “Les Miserables,”  an adaptation of the famous musical. It is a beautiful movie! I recommend it to all of you. Jean Valjean was a man who was imprisoned for stealing bread to give to his sister’s son. He spends nineteen years in prison. When he is released from jail, he cannot find a job. He is in misery, hungry and without a place to sleep. He is rescued from the street by a bishop who brings him to his house, feeds him and gives him a bed to sleep in. During the night, Valjean steals all the silver in the house.  When the police catch him, he claims that the bishop had given him the silver but they say he is lying. The policemen bring him to the bishop, who tells them that he had indeed given Valjean all the silver. He also says that he forgot the best part and gave him two silver candlesticks. Valjean is completely conquered by this unexpected gesture of mercy and love. The bishop tells him: “And remember this, my brother, See in this some high plan. You must use this precious silver to become an honest man.” Valjean changes his life completely. He becomes more than an honest man: he became a good man. He found that he was loved, which made him return the love he had received. He spends his life doing good to different people. I shall not tell you any more details so that you will watch the movie!

What allows us to become better persons is not our resolutions, our efforts or our plans. It is the surprise of God’s mercy in our lives, which transforms our lives. Change is born from the continual discovery that we are loved by God. We were chosen, our names were written in heaven. This happened on the day of our baptism.

After Jesus’ baptism, “heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son.’” Jesus was baptized in order for the Father’s voice to reach each one of us. On the day of our baptism, God said: “You are my beloved son, you are mine, you belong to me.”

We need to listen to this voice over and over, although we can easily forget it. We forget that we belong to Him, we forget our dignity. Our Father is so good that He not only gave us the Sacrament of Baptism but also gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in order for us to listen to “you are my son” infinitely.  Every time I go to confession, it is possible for me to be certain of God’s love.

It is God’s mercy that changes us and transforms us into better persons. A changed person changes the world.

Let us ask for the grace to rediscover the grace contained in our baptism every day. Let us for ask the grace to be increasingly certain of God’s love for us.

Amen.