In the life of the Church when we talk about vocations we typically are referring to the four major vocations: single life, married life, religious life, and priestly life. Each and every one of us is called by God to at least one of these vocations. Today’s readings obviously focus on the vocation of the married life, but while doing that it reveals something that is relevant to us all, in every state of life that is in this room. So whether you are married or not, consider what took place at the wedding of Cana.
Jesus was there and was preset, a guest invited into that moment in the bride and groom’s life. But there is also every indication that Jesus was there only in the background. He’s not the center of attention, there’s no mention of the bride and groom talking to him, and he didn’t seem interested in taking any action until Mary insisted on it. But once he is invited to not just be there but to be an active presence in celebration, he transforms it. He provides what the couple could not: more wine than they could afford to provide and better wine than they could afford to provide.
In all of our lives Jesus Christ is present as an invited guest. I have no doubt about that because we are baptized and we chose to be here in this moment of worship. But what we can ponder in light of this Gospel is whether we have invited Jesus to be an active part of our lives. Have we willed – in that beautiful gift of free will – have we willed let him be active, to let him be essential to the vocations and the lives that we live? Or are we headstrong, trying to face the challenges and difficulties in our lives with our own effort and ingenuity, and accepting praise and accomplishment as the fruit of our hands and our hands alone? I don’t think any of us here would actively and consciously reject God from our lives, but it’s a wholly different thing to actively and consciously invite Him to act.
Or perhaps a more fundamental question: do you believe that you need God’s help to live your vocation? As a litmus test look to how you pray. There is a principle in theology called lex orandi lex credendi, “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” So on the grand scale of the Church’s faith and theology, it’s not that we have a set of beliefs and try to pray in a way that matches them, it’s that the Church prays and then reflects on the prayer to understand what our beliefs really are. In our individual lives too… if you want to know what you truly believe reflect on how you pray. If you can already say that you pray often for God’s help in your marriages, in your single life, in your careers, in your family… then you know that you truly desire God to be active. Or if you know that you do not make that prayer, then ponder this Gospel and consider that maybe now is the time to start.
Because this wedding became so much more of a celebration when Jesus was asked to help. A wine better than any other, and a quantity that was overflowing. The celebration might have been decent without him, but it was so much more with him. So too for our lives, how much more amazing they can be when we tell Jesus to play a part in them.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.