Thursday, January 14, 2010

When the wine runs out ...

Second Ordinary Sunday Year C

St. Paul in today’s second reading tells us: “There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people; it is the same God who is working in all of them.” Do we agree with this statement? If we agree with this statement, can we see it happening in our own parish? Do we see a variety of gifts manifested in different ways in our parish? Do we see God’s spirit working in this parish through the many people who volunteer for ministry? Are you using your gift for the service of the community and the Church?

If God wishes his church and his community to grow stronger, he will certainly provide it with all the gifts necessary to do so. God will not fail his community. Nevertheless, we sometimes fail God and the community. This happens when we do not acknowledge our gifts and the gifts of others in the community. A community can only flourish if its members are able to recognize their own gifts and are able to affirm one another gifts. A community is in real danger of being destroyed if its members are only always expecting something from others and who are not prepared to give or share. A community is in real danger when its members are constantly criticizing and finding fault with one another. A community is in real danger when the gifts of its members are suppressed rather than identified and nurtured. A community is in real danger of being destroyed when the wine runs out.

Today’s gospel tells the story of the wedding at Cana. This joyous occasion nearly ended in tragedy because the most important element that was keeping the party going had finished – they ran out of wine. Sometimes, when we see the same people serving in the Church growing older and older with each passing year without any successor, we begin to think that the wine is also running out. No Wine, no new leaders, no new plans, no new members, no Holy Spirit! The END! Do you think that our parish, is heading in this direction? Do you think that our wine is running out and we are about to ‘close shop’?

Thousands of years ago, the people of Israel also thought that the destruction of their country meant the end of everything. They were called the “Forsaken” and “Abandoned” People. But Isaiah in the first reading gives an entirely different message. It is a message of hope. All is not lost because God will return to redeem them. They will be called by a new name, they will receive a new glory, they will be called “My Delight” and “The Wedded” for God has taken delight in them again. God has renewed his covenant with them – God has wedded them again. What brought about the change? They realized that glory and blessings came from God alone. No human power, riches or glory will last. Eventually all these things will run out. Only God’s blessings remain. Only God can ensure that the wine will never run out.

All is not lost! The wine need not run out. This community still has a chance to grow and become stronger. Firstly, we must recognize that we need conversion. We need God and Christ to become the center of our lives. We can no longer think that we can solve all our problems through human efforts. If we have the ability to solve problems, it is the ability which is given none other by God. If this community is to survive and grow, each of us must experience a conversion of heart. We need to be re-evangelised. If we have become complacent and satisfied with what we have, its time to wake up. It’s not enough to maintain the things that we have. The community and the church must grow; if not, it will die. Let us then pray that our community will be renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit and that we will come to recognize our gifts and how we can use these gifts in the service of the Church.

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