Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Do whatever he tells you”

January 16, 2022

So now what is Jesus supposed to be and to do?  Last Sunday, God spoke: “You are my beloved Son, Jesus; with you I am well pleased.”

So now what?  What is Jesus supposed to do next?  Start talking!  Start doing!  The human part of Jesus is not sure what his next steps are.  He has this burning fire and insight deep inside him.  At one level, he knows that his place with God is what God wants him to share, that God wants him to call the people to a new personal relationship with his Father.

But, as any human being, no matter how motivated, it is tough to get started.  Where? How?

So today, the Church shares the first sign of bigger things to come and Mary, Jesus’ mother, makes it happen.

Just as Jesus’ mother, Mary of Nazareth, had to set Jesus straight in the Temple when he was 12 years, she has to do so today where we catch both of them at a wedding feast.  The real miracle, I believe, is not the changing of water into wine, but that Mary got Jesus to start his work of doing good for people who were in need.

Jesus does not seem to be very observant or care much about what is happening there.  Maybe, he did not even want to be there.  “More at home in the temple” mindset and less at ease “in a social gathering” wedding feast?  Or is he playing coy or does he not quite know what he should do in this particular circumstance?

Well, his mother knows and she seems to jumpstart his ministry.  Clearly, Mary instructs the servers at the banquet “to do whatever he tells you.”  We could imagine Jesus saying, “please mother, not now,” and Mary does not even say please.  “Do whatever he tells you,” pushes Jesus to act. What she is really saying is to “get on with the rest of your life.”  Perhaps, Mary had a better insight into what was next for Jesus than Jesus had.

Today’s Gospel passage ends with a note: “Jesus did the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him.”  The “glory” that Jesus reveals is more than a “wow” because he did something spectacular.   “What he did” is a sign, and what we do is a sign.  So today is a call to action, to get off the bench of life, to reveal God’s presence and love in our own lives.

Do we need Jesus’ mother to push us out of our doldrums, to get us moving, to wake us up?  What is it that God is waiting for us to do?  Right now!  Today!

We can take some encouragement from our second reading for St. Paul to the Corinthians who reminds us that in addition to the Blessed Mary’s nudge, there is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of our special unique gifts, who reveals the special ways and places for us to be God’s presence, who equips us with our gifts to do good – always for someone else’s benefit.

The key to our spiritual growth and development is to go with the flow of the Spirit in our lives, not to sink into ruts of rivalry, or jealousy, but to welcome each one’s diversity and difference, to bring God’s presence and love to as many people and places that we can.

Remembering Mary’s haunting words: “Do whatever he tells you.”  That means that we have to listen and pay attention.  Being alive is more than doing our own thing.  It is doing God’s thing.

We are not a tool or a slave of God.  We are God’s partner and collaborators.  We hear the Prophecy of Isaiah the Prophet, the prophet to the people of Israel almost 30000 years ago, calling Israel to “be a glorious crown in the hand of God where God called the people “My Delight.”  God says that he wishes to marry each one of us.  It’s not the sex or the gender, it’s the heart to the heart, the joining of God in our lives.   Is that not who Jesus is about – the Incarnation?

And it’s not just for himself as a person.  It is for all of us.

That’s why his mother Mary tells him today: “Get out there, son.  Start doing what you are supposed to do.  Bring your light.  Show your love.  Let your Father work through you.”

Today is the beginning of the signs.  There is no end to them if we allow Jesus’ signs to live in us, in our lives, in our words, and in our actions.

It will begin for us if we hear Mary’s advice today: “Do whatever he tells you!”  That is what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did, and tomorrow we have an opportunity to remember all that he let God accomplish in him.

What does God want to accomplish in each of us? 

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