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The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year C
Daily and weekly we Christians turn to the Bible for reassurance that God is walking with us on our journeys. Our faith and hope empower us to cope with overwhelming issues affecting our lives.
A recent Gallop Poll reported that the top three things Americans are concerned about are the economy, poor government leadership, and the unrelenting virus. There are other pressing issues such as the growing gap between rich and poor people, clashing opinions about vaccinations, voter legislation, the slow demise of democracy, and climate change.
Our frustrations have incited quarrelsome divisions in our families, neighborhoods, churches, schools and town halls. The rancor among elected officials is not helpful. These cracks in our society, however, challenge us to reflect on those ways where faith and life meet.
The evangelist John wrote a collection of astonishing episodes to convince unbelievers that Jesus was the Messiah. Like other biblical anecdotes this one (John 2:1-11) addresses what is necessary for “turning water into wine.”
Even though Jesus claimed he was not ready for ministry he conceded to his mother’s plea. He showed his skeptical followers that he had a unique ability to do wondrous deeds particularly when the lives of others were at risk.
Jesus’ vision was that every situation and person must be treated with respect and care. As he carried out this task Jesus was showing us how to be partners with God in bringing about a kin-dom here on earth.
Psalm 96 asserts we are to “proclaim the marvelous deeds [of God] to all the nations.” However, as we go about exercising our baptismal ministries we ask ourselves: where is God in this moment of history?
Isaiah the prophet (62:1-5) asked a similar question. The Israelites were rebounding from years in exile. They wanted to rebuild their Temple destroyed by the Babylonians. Life for them was so harsh many of them gave up on God.
Old Testament scholar Callie Plunket-Brewton surmised that “the loss of self-rule and the continued absence of physical and symbolic stability” represented by their Temple [building], meant that “God was absent as well.”
With a vision for the future of Israel Isaiah continued to pester God to keep the promise God made not to forsake humanity. Isaiah emphasized: “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.”
How do we use our voices to make God’s kin-dom on earth a reality? In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (12:4-11) we are reminded of the many gifts we have. No matter what our talents are each of us is blessed in some way. In turn, we can be a blessing to others by “speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all those who are destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8)
Using our wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy, and discernment we can be miracle workers; we can turn things around. We do not have to possess every charism but if we use the ones we are very good at we will begin to see results.
As we remember Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend we recall the innumerable ways he used his voice and took risks on behalf of poor and vulnerable people. Like Isaiah and Jesus, King also had a dream for the future. He sought to change water into wine, that is, to end poverty, racism of every kind.
In King’s words, “There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it … There is no deficit in human resources, the deficit is in human will.” 
Sometimes our wine runs out. We get discouraged. We become anxious over things we cannot control. There is little money to pay the rent or mortgage, buy groceries or gas. We distrust even our closest friends. We begin to overlook the needs of others. Sometimes, we give up on God.
United Methodist pastor, Ismael Ruiz-Millán, remarked that the Cana miracle is calling each one of us “to identify what needs to be redeemed in our world so that it is in alignment with God’s desires for us.” The time is now for miracle workers to show up.
Jesus modeled for us a life dedicated to speaking only the truth; caring for those who need help; and advocating for laws that are just. Living in this way, during these troubling and unpredictable times, we too can turn water into wine.
1. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? In A Testament of Hope ed. James M. Washington (New York: Harper & Collins, 1986), 623-624.