HOMILY: When the Wine Runs Out

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time | January 16/17, 2016

Fr. Brian Zumbrum’s homilies and reflections are posted weekly at Leaven in the World. To see the archive of all his posts, just click hereSalesian Sermons

PROTIP: Before reading on, be sure to take a look at the Sunday readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading.

Over the past few years, I have been privileged to attend numerous weddings of dear family and friends.

But there was one wedding that I will never forget because of what happened that evening.

The wedding started off pretty standard.  A beautiful bride.  A beaming groom.  A lovely mass.

But then it began to rain.

Now, I have been to numerous weddings in which it has drizzled or rained here and there.

But this wedding was different.

The rain seemed to only grow in intensity.  By the time the h’orderves were done, it was a full blown hurricane.

And the reception was supposed to happen outside.

What ensued next was utter hilarity . . . the wedding guests ran down a path, forded a raging river, and arrived in the tent soaked from head to toe.

I remember watching as bridesmaids staggered in as if they had just emerged from battle, many of them missing shoes that had gotten lost in the river.

I remember the ceiling of the tent bulging with water, threatening to collapse on our table and necessitating a waiter scurrying on a chair to push the water off the roof.

I remember the bride arriving with no less than twelves umbrellas encasing her from head to toe.

But the thing I remember most is how much fun that wedding was.  It seems that the rain made it all the more memorable.  We couldn’t control the weather.  But the night was still ours to make.  And so we laughed, we ate, we danced, and we celebrated the love that was ever-more apparent as the evening went on.

I couldn’t help but think about that wedding as I reflected on the Gospel for this weekend.

For in many ways, I can imagine this couple in Cana facing a similar quandary as my friends.  What do you when your best laid plans go awry?  What do you do when the wine runs dry?  What do you when it begins to pour?

And I think, in this Gospel, we find some potential answers.

When faced with the catastrophe of a wedding without wine, the waiters filled the jars with water as instructed.

It is easy to look at their actions in hindsight and say, “Well of course they would fill the jars.  Jesus told them to.”

But these waiters were never clued in to Jesus’ plans.  All they were told is to fill a bunch of huge jars with a lot of water.

This back-breaking work could have easily dissuaded them from completing the job.  

They could have made excuses.  

They could have dismissed the request as fruitless.  

They could have easily brushed off the request of a random wedding guest to tend to more pressing duties.

But they don’t do any of these things.  Instead, they fill the water jars and allow the miracle to happen.

My friends, I am convinced that life frequently hands us situations in which the wine runs out.  Situations in which we are faced with the empty water jars.

From car batteries that won’t start to slips on the ice that send our groceries crashing to the ground.

From toddlers with a fever to missed appointments that need to be rescheduled.

From the moments in which we are locked out of the house to the moments in which we are pushed away from one we love who is hurting.

From the casserole that we burn to a crisp to the check that we bounce.

And in those situations, we too are asked to follow the example of the waiters.

To fill our jars with water.  To do our part, even when it doesn’t seem enough.  Even when it seems futile or useless.  Even when the task seems hopeless.

For God is working with us, turning our water into wine.

So let us bring our jars of water before the Lord.

Let us bring our gifts and our talents.

Let us bring our desperate measures and our frantic last-minute solutions.

Let us bring our attempts, our trys, and our repairs.

Let us bring the best that we are capable of in this moment.

So that we too may taste the wine that is prepared for us, each and every day.

May God be Praised.

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