Saturday, January 19, 2013

Homily 2nd Sunday of the Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily 2nd Sunday of the Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Readings: Isa 62:1-5; Ps 96:1-3,7-10; 1 Cor 12:4-11 and John 2:1-11

Newness of Life in Christ,

 Naturally we are get excited when we have something new. It could be a new house, a new job, a new shirt, a new shoe, a new car, a new wine, or a new home, a new baby. Newly married couples are usually excited too, as well as newly ordained priests or newly inaugurated Presidents.  Personally, I have been excited a few times: on the day of my ordination; when I newly arrived in my new graduate schools in the United States and Rome and as newly post-doctoral biblical scholar and theologian. I was also excited when my new Book on Prophet Zephaniah came out. My excitement also highten when I was employed as a full time faculty professor at Sacred Heart School of Theology. Israel must have been excited with today's post exilic message of Trito- Isaiah, which says,

"Nation shall behold your vindication, and all the kings your glory; you shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord. You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, a royal diadem held by your God. No more shall people call you forsaken or your land desolate. But you shall be called my delight, and your land espoused. For the lord delights in you and makes your land his spouse.... Just as a bridegroom rejoice in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you."

In fact, this made a lot of sense for a people who had long been oppressed , denied basic freedom of speech, worship, commerce, fundamental human rights and colonized by foreign empire. It brings a great relieve to those who had long lived in exiled, away from the comfort of their home, whose sense of privacy and sense of belonging  had long been deprived as well. It made sense for those who had been forsaken or who had been made to forsake their lands. Today the Lord delights in them. It is a message of hope. It is a message of relief. It is a message of renewal. Its a message of a new home, a delightful new city and a delightful rebuilt community.

 This same note of newness is struck in the gospel incidence or sign in Cana in Galilee where Jesus not only attended the wedding ceremony in John 2, but changed water into wine, through the intercession of his mother Mary. With this Jesus not only revealed his glory, but fulfilled the promises made us by the Lord through the mouths of the Prophets of old, but teaches us that he is an ideal server and condition changer. With God everything is possible. Enemies could be made to become friends once more. Peace could be restored in troubled homes and towns and cities. Hopelesslness could be replaced with hopefulness and hatred with love, exclusiveness with inclusiveness! What a beauty of this symbolism of changing water into wine!

 Jesus can change our exiled condition to a home coming. He can change our desolate condition to a delightful one. He can help us change our old fashion, life style, bad habits be it an abuse of talents and gifts to a refreshing, and flourishing spiritual and Christian habit of putting our talents and gifts to the service of the common good (1 Cor 12:4-11). He can change selfishness to selflessness. And oldness of life in the "world" to a newness of life in Christ Jesus. He is the source of Joy. He is the source of a new life, a new spirit, a new heart, a new mind, a new home, a new village, a new county or local government, a new state, a new nation and a new world where peace, love and forgiveness dwell!