Sunday, January 17, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

“In the beginning” are the very first words of both Genesis and John's Gospel. To those unfamiliar with the sacred scriptures, this might appear to be a curious accident or a simple coincidence.

It also might seem equally coincidental that Chapter 2 of Genesis and of John’s Gospel both a deal with marriage.

Genesis states: “That is why a man to leave his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”

John presents to us the first miracle of Jesus in public taking place at the marriage feast in Cana.

To a student of the scriptures, the meaning is neither accidental nor coincidental, but rather a profound description of God working in our lives through the person of Jesus, his word made flesh.

In ancient times, the wedding feast was one of the most important of celebrations. To be invited to a wedding feast and refuse to come would be one of the most insulting things a person could do.

Jesus uses parables related to wedding feasts, even including such refusals. One of the things to note about a wedding feast is that it was literally a feast. It related to creation. In the feast, all of the good of the earth, all of the fruits of creation, were laid out before the bride.

The linkage between marriage and creation was obvious. One married in order to have children, “to be fruitful and multiply.”

Marriage is about celebrating all the good things in life which God, in his love, has given to us. It is about the abundant love of God for all his creation.

The role of Jesus and Mary, too, in this passage is highly symbolic.

Jesus is the groom of the New Testament and lays down his life for his bride. Mary is the new Eve; she rights the wrongs of the story of creation and the fall. The new creation sees Mary with the serpent beneath her feet; her words instruct all Christians in their efforts to find a way to follow God anew: “Do whatever he tells you.”

What could more succinctly express the proper response of a Christian to Jesus and his words: “Do whatever he tells you.”

The changing of water into wine is a symbol of the fruitful and generative life with God and that will come through Christ the Messiah. And we note that water does not just become wine, but to everyone's taste — especially the wine steward — it becomes the best of wines.

So naturally and so subtly we discover in this passage the meaning of recognizing, hearing, taking to heart and following the Lord our Christ.

In the life of grace and faith, the words of Jesus become true for us: “Be fruitful and multiply.”

Grace upon grace, new life, the gifts of the Spirit, all of these become ours in Christ.

The key, the way, the hope of it happening — the miraculous change — so easily occurs by simply hearing and doing the words of Mary: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments that are derogatory, attack others or are offensive in nature may be removed. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark.