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Let Jesus turn water of our ordinary lives into wine of grace

Archbishop Wenski's homily on Second Sunday of Ordinary Time at Little Flower, Hollywood

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily at the vigil Mass for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, celebrated in Little Flower Church, Hollywood, Jan. 15, 2021. During the Mass, he installed Father Javier Barreto as pastor.

There’s the story about the kid who was enrolled in his parish religious education program and when asked by a neighbor about his class one day answered that the teacher told them about the water changing into wine. Then, the neighbor said, what did you learn about that? He replied, well, if you’re going to have a wedding you ought to invite Jesus and Mary.

And really that’s the whole point of the Gospel reading today. It is the presence of Jesus that converts the water of our ordinary lives, its routines, its ups and downs, into the good wine of grace capable of producing true joy in whatever life circumstances we find ourselves in.

And let’s not leave out Mary, who in this story of the first miracle represents the caring and interceding Church. She tells us as she told the servants at the wedding feast, “Do whatever he tells you.”

It is in obedience to Christ’s word that we taste the “good wine” of the Gospel.

In the second reading today, St. Paul lists for the Corinthians the various gifts given to the members of Christ’s body, the Church. These gifts have one source, namely the Holy Spirit; and the gifts, while many and various, have one purpose: to build up the Body of Christ. The gifts we have received – and what do we have that we have not received? – are not given merely for one’s own personal benefit or profit but are given for the common good of all, to be shared so that all may come to know the joy of the Gospel.

Jesus enters our world, a world of fragile peace and broken promises, to lead us in the glory of his world, a world of joy and everlasting life. His glory was shown in the star that led the Magi to Bethlehem, his glory was manifested at the River Jordan when Jesus was baptized and once again, “In Cana, he revealed his glory.”

Today, of course, I am here because today you officially receive as your pastor Father Javier Barreto, who is sent to you in the name of Jesus.

Father Javier, as your pastor, is to be a faithful steward of you, the people entrusted to his care, and he is to dispense to you — with single-minded and wholehearted devotion — the means of grace by preaching the Word and administering the Sacraments.

Father, love your people with a shepherd’s heart and feed them, lead them to Christ and teach them gently — by word and example.

Father Barreto is entrusted with the “care of your souls,” what in Latin is called the “cura animarum.” He is to carry out his duties “not with a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control” (cf. Timothy).

This care of souls is a threefold task: First, he must teach you faithfully what the Church believes and teaches. Amid this changing world — with its trials, its tribulations but also with its joys and hopes — your pastor is to remind you that Jesus' words do not pass away, they do not go out of style. His words of promise remain in full force and effect. He doesn’t speak in his own name but in the name of Christ.

Second, he must lead you, like the Good Shepherd, to safe pastures; and third, he must bring you to greater holiness.

In the confessional, in the Eucharist, in his ministry to the sick and bereaved, Father Javier will strengthen you in the grace that will have you grow in holiness before the Lord.

Jesus told his apostles: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Father Javier is here for you as one who serves.

Father Javier, I am sure, will serve you well; and he will serve not do so by calling attention to himself but by calling attention to the Lord; he will serve not by seeking his own interests but by putting first God’s will and his people’s good and well-being; he will serve not by trying to please everyone — for one who tries to do that usually ends up pleasing no one; rather he will serve you best by trying to please the Lord in all things.

Un pequeño resumen en español: Una vez en su clase de catecismo, la profesora les conto a los niños la historia de las Bodas de Caná. La profesora preguntó a los niños qué entendieron. Un muchacho muy majo contesto, si vas a tener una boda debes invitar a Jesús y a su madre, María. Sí, es la presencia de Jesús que convierte las rutinas de nuestras vidas, con sus retos, sus decepciones, en el nuevo vino de la gracia que es capaz de producir en nosotros la verdadera alegría, no importa las circunstancias en que nos encontramos. Y María representa la Iglesia que intercede por nosotros y nos dice, hagan lo que él, mi hijo, les diga.

Y al instalar oficialmente al Padre Barreto como su párroco, podemos decir que él es el mesero que tiene que servirnos ese aún mejor vino de la gracia.

I will now ask Father to lead you in the recitation of the Creed and to take the oath of the office of pastor.