You’d know what a trilogy is. Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, the Godfather. Today’s Gospel isn’t one. Rather it’s a Two-Part Trilogy! The second epic part of this story comes next Sunday and there’s no spoilers! Here we go, part one . . .
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor”
Today’s Gospel reading begins with Luke’s famous account of the care with which he has researched the traditions of the first Christian communities. It then omits the account of Christ’s infancy, his baptism by John, and his forty days in the wilderness – to continue with a text describing the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry where the Lord preaches the Kingdom of God in his home-town.
The background to what Jesus is about to do is found in the reading from Nehemiah. Back then Gods’ people had been humbled. And having been allowed to return to their homeland in Jerusalem, they were also allowed to rebuild their Temple. This set the stage for them, as one people, to renew their covenant and re-establish the law of Moses as the peoples rule of life.
Israel rededicating itself to God and his Law sets the stage for Jesus. In this scene, Jesus the high priest, instead of Ezra the high priest, reads from the prophets. It is Isaiah. In that prophesy of chapter 61 the glad tidings include promises such as the liberation of prisoners, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the restoration of Israel as a kingdom of priests, and the forging of an everlasting covenant or pact with God.
Listening to the Word of God today we are like the Israelites assembling to hear about Gods saving work and are also to rededicate ourselves to God’s service. We can look back on the long history of occasions where God’s people, remembering His claims on them, have resolved again to be faithful despite past failures.
But something more is happening. Jesus declares Isaias prophesy is fulfilled in him. As it can only be fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus is making himself known publicly. As Jesus read from the scroll Israel were witness to the proclamation of the new people of God under Jesus, not Moses.
In Jesus the old is superseded. In Jesus we celebrate a new sabbath – the Eucharist, in Jesus we have won God’s favour, and we have been delivered from slavery to sin. In the Spirit we, the new people of God, are made one body with Christ. And it is that same Spirit that is central to the Christian rule of life.
Hearing Jesus say that the scripture is coming true before our eyes is true for us in the most profound way. Today, having listened to God’s Word we now continue to celebrate Eucharist where, once again, we rededicate ourselves to God in, with, and through Jesus Christ, our high priest. Now, let us stand to profess our faith.
They Have No Wine
In the Gospel we are presented with the beautiful scene of the wedding feast of Cana from the first days of Jesus’ public ministry. As you recall last week we heard how Jesus only revealed who he was when he was baptised in the Jordan by John.
It is very interesting that the first public event that Jesus attends after his Baptism is a wedding. This draws to our attention to how much marriage is a part of God’s plan for our world and for our society. The covenant of marriage represents the beginnings of the new life of a new family.
We hear a parallel story in the 1st reading. Isaiah tells us that when the Messiah comes he will show that God loves his people like a bridegroom loves his bride. The wedding of Cana anticipates the fulfillment of this nuptial prophesy when Jesus espouses his bride on the Cross and where his love is consummated by the physical outpouring of his Blood. This is the hour Jesus refers to in the Gospel.
This marriage between Christ and Christ’s Church is also a covenant that brings new life. As we draw parallels let’s consider how the changing of water to wine was a sign of this life sealed by the outpouring of Jesus’ Blood.
- Although his ‘hour had not yet come,’ the changing of the water to wine alludes to the change necessary to consummate the new covenant. And Jesus provides this sign in abundance.
Remember at the last supper Jesus said he would not drink wine again until “I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:29)? He said this following the words of institution that had changed the wine into his Precious Blood. This ‘changed wine’ now symbolises God’s Love. It is a memorial of the Blood Jesus poured out on the Cross. And just as the Love shown by Jesus was excessive, the wine of Cana was a sign of that excessive Love.
The readings are deeply theological and symbolic. Jesus changed water into wine as a sign of God’s excessive Love. Only such an excess of Love later sealed by the Blood of Christ, can bring forth new life in our families, our society, the Church, and ultimately, the new life of God’s kingdom. Without God’s Spirit of Love our covenant relationships will not survive. That's the point. We depend on God to sanctify our relationships so here I’d like to introduce to you a new prayer:
LORD JESUS CHRIST,
SON OF THE FATHER,
SEND NOW YOUR SPIRIT
OVER THE EARTH.
LET THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVE
IN THE HEARTS OF ALL NATIONS,
THAT THEY MAY BE PRESERVED
FROM DEGENERATION, DISASTER AND WAR.
MAY THE LADY OF ALL NATIONS,
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,
BE OUR ADVOCATE.
What is the Warning?
THE ILLUMINATION OF CONSCIENCE, predicted by Our Lady in Garabandal in 1961-65 will take place soon to save the world.
WHY IS THE WARNING TAKING PLACE?
- To prove to all that God exists.
- To bring everyone back to Jesus and the way of the truth.
- To dilute the impact of sin and evil in the world through conversion.
- To help save us before the final day of judgement by giving us a chance to ask for forgiveness for the sins we have committed.
- To convert non-believers who would have no chance of redemption without this great act of mercy.
- To strengthen the faith of believers.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE WARNING
- Everyone over the age of 7 will experience a private mystical encounter with Jesus Christ which will last anything up to 15 minutes
- It is a gift from God the Father to convert people back to the truth. It is how the Final Day of Judgement will unfold only this time you will not be condemned. Instead you will be given a chance to ask for forgiveness.
- Two comets will collide in the sky.
- People will believe it to be catastrophic worse than an earthquake But it is not – it is a sign that Jesus has come.
- The sky will turn red it will look like a fire & then you will see a large cross in the sky to prepare you first.
- Atheists will say it was a global illusion. Scientists will look for a logical explanation but there won’t be one.
- It will be spectacular and will not hurt us because it comes as an act of Love and Mercy from Jesus.
- Our sins will be shown to us and this will make us feel tremendous sorrow and shame when they are revealed to us. Others will be so sickened and shocked by the way in which their sins will be revealed that they will drop dead before they have a chance to ask for forgiveness.
- Everyone will see the state of their soul before God – the good they have done in their lives, the grief they have inflicted on others and all that which they failed to do.
- Many people will fall down and cry tears of relief. Tears of joy and happiness. Tears of wonder and love.
- For, at last, it will be possible to live a new life thereafter when we know the full truth.
- Jesus is now asking everyone to pray for those souls who will die of shock who may be in mortal sin. Everyone needs to prepare now. Jesus asks that all ask for the forgiveness of their sins in advance of The Warning.
Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, 'I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'
Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.'
We have just listened to the story of the baptism of Jesus. In the Church’s ancient tradition this feast is always closely linked to the feast of the Epiphany, which we celebrated last week, and with the miracle at Cana where Jesus changes water into wine. In each story the central message is that the true meaning of the life and mission of Jesus is being made known/revealed. All three events are epiphanies of ‘the Christ.’
However, in many ways the story of Jesus’ the baptism is puzzling. Before Jesus presented Himself for baptism John had already spoken of Him as the one who would baptise others, and not with water but with the Holy Spirit and with fire. And as another Gospel tells us, John questioned Jesus saying that he needed baptism from Jesus rather than the other way around. Jesus replied to John that he had to accept that this was God’s plan and had to take place.
So, what is the meaning of the baptism of Jesus? Part of the explanation lies in what happens next in the story (the epiphany). As Jesus comes up out of the water the Spirit of God descends on Jesus and the voice of God the Father is heard: “You are my son, the beloved. My favour, my seal of approval, rests on you."
Jesus, a man like other men, is so closely at one with God that God calls Him his beloved Son and reveals that the presence of the Holy Spirit is always with Him. But it wasn’t for this spectacle that he was baptised. Jesus was baptised for the sake of others. His baptism was for us because it created a solidarity not between Jesus and God but between Him who is God and us human beings. He was immersed like everyone else that we share with Him the blessing of the Holy Spirit and the favour of God which He alone enjoyed. For better or worse His baptism united the fate of humanity with the plight of God.
It is a beautiful story of Jesus’ willingness to identify His life completely with that of a sinful humanity so that the benefits of His redeeming act on the Cross would ultimately be poured out upon all who are baptised into his Body, the Church. This means that when we receive baptism as adopted children of God we may take for granted the words our heavenly Father once spoke to His only begotten Son, “You are my son, the beloved. My favour rests on you."
Every year the Carmelite Pre-novitiate Community at Carith House in Chicago on the Feast of the Epiphany blesses their home. We invite you to adopt this custom in your family.
On the Feast of the Epiphany, the family gathers to ask God’s blessing on their home and on those who live in or visit the home. It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance. It can also be written somewhere inside the home.
+20 C M B 19+
The letters C, M, B have two meanings:
• They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
• They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”
The “+” signs represent the cross and 2019 is the year.
Here’s a suggested format for the blessing:
All make the Sign of the Cross.
Leader: “Peace be to this house and to all who dwell here, in the name of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.
Reader: When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
The word of the Lord.
ALL: Thanks be to God
Using chalk, write on the outside
of your house or inside above the front main entrance,
above or next to an entrance:
+20 Christus Mansionem Benedicat 19+ or +20 C M B 19+
These words mean. “May Christ bless this house” or you may use the names of the Magi
+20 Caspar Melchior Balthazar 19+ or +20 C M B 19+
All: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who live here and all who visit. May we be blessed with health, kindness of heart, gentleness and the keeping of your law. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our love for each other may go out to all. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.