Please press here to listen to the homily or download
January 7th – Christmas
Readings: 1 Jn 5:14-21; Jn 2:1-12.
Reading 1 (1 Jn 5:14-21):
We have this confidence in God,
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask,
we know that what we have asked him for is ours.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly,
he should pray to God and he will give him life.
This is only for those whose sin is not deadly.
There is such a thing as deadly sin,
about which I do not say that you should pray.
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly.
We know that no one begotten by God sins;
but the one begotten by God he protects,
and the Evil One cannot touch him.
We know that we belong to God,
and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One.
We also know that the Son of God has come
and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.
And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Children, be on your guard against idols.
Gospel (Jn 2:1-12):
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“raw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
(although the servers who had drawn the water knew),
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“veryone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
I. THEME: The devil can’t harm those who always do God’s will.
The devil knows human weakness: people want to do what they desire. Therefore, the devil always tempts people to do just that. But whoever follows this way, shall belong to the devil. God gives people a weapon to be victorious over the devil which is to always do God’s will. Whoever follows this way shall reach the ultimate goal of life.
In the first reading, St. John taught the faithful how to recognize and to do God’s will. Though the faithful can sin due to their weakness, they must know how to raise up and to return to God’s love. In the Gospel, when Mary recognized the newly wed couple out of wine, she came to Jesus to intercede for them. She advised the servants a wise saying which we should always need to remember and to practice: “Do whatever he tells you.”
1/ Reading I: The sin that leads to death and the one that doesn’t.
1.1/ The condition is required before God grants our prayer.
(1) God grants our prayer when we ask for things that please Him: God listens to all of people’s petitions; but doesn’t grant all of them; He only grants those who please Him. This is easy to understand because there are prayers of those who only care about themselves, or the prayers to harm others, or the prayers that ask God to be against His nature. The one thing people need to add to the end of their prayer with these words “if it pleases you.” Only God clearly and firmly knows what is good or bad for human beings, and He is ready to grant good things for His people.
(2) The sin which leads to death and the sin that doesn’t lead to death: St. John mentioned these two sins but didn’t clearly explain: “If anyone sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.” According to the Church’s teaching and some scholars, the sin that leads to death is the sin of those who lost their consciousness of sins, or those who believe God forgives all their sins without repentance nor confession nor changing their life. If we pray God helps these people, we violate God’s justice. Of course, we can pray for them to repent when they are still living.
1.2/ Two cases of human beings in the world: This passage is hard to understand; we need to understand it in the whole of his First Letter’s meaning. First, John didn’t mean all Christians can’t sin, because right on the above verses, he already made a difference between the two sins: the sin that leads to death and the sin that doesn’t bring death. The thing St. John wanted to do is to make a difference between the two kinds of people: those who belong to God and those who belong to the world.
He wrote: “We know that anyone born of God does not sin, but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.” According to him, the world is the battlefield between the good and the evil; in the world there are people who belong to God and people who belong to the devil. Those of God can sin due to their weakness; but they are always conscious of their sins and want to reconciliate with God. Those belong to the devil lost their consciousness of sins; they don’t consider anything which is sinful.
2/ Gospel: “Do whatever he tells you!”
Today passage reported Jesus’ public mission and the first of Jesus’ miracles in the Fourth Gospel. This is an important miracle because it begins the Messiah’s era. Jesus displayed his power and concerns for his mother, disciples, and people so that they put their trust in him. There are three different reactions reported in this passage.
2.1/ Mary’s tactful action: Though she was one of the wedding guests, she didn’t act like them; but acted as their family’s member. She was the first to recognize the newly-wed couple’s difficult situation. She understood the out of wine event will have a lasting effect on their life, so she came to her son and asked him for help with a simple saying, “They have no wine.” Mary’s reaction demonstrated two things: She knew Jesus is the only person can save the couple’s shame. She didn’t give a command; but a request for Jesus to respond. Then she came to kitchen and advised the servants: “Do what he tells you!”
2.2/ Jesus’ reaction: When he heard of his mother’s request, Jesus answered: “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” The hour of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel is the glorious hour when he is crucified in the cross. All actions of Jesus’ life are oriented to this hour. Many people think Jesus’ answer wasn’t proper as a son’s answer to his mother; but they should reconsider it: In life, each of us has a mission given by God and a certain time to fulfil that mission. We shouldn’t rush others to do their mission according to our request and time. This is an important key to have peace, unity and happiness in our family. The remark of the steward of the feast is an example for us not to always follow tradition, because each has different situation. He blamed the bridegroom: “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
2.3/ The servants’ reaction: The passage reported: Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” This is the task that isn’t easy to fulfil because they must carry a huge amount of water on the wedding day; but they obeyed Mary and Jesus to fill six jars with water. Then he said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” This is also the difficult task because it requires them to have faith; but they obeyed, drew it and gave to the steward. The result was exceeded the steward’s expectation.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Our weakness is to do our own will. We need to give up our will so that we can recognize and do God’s will.
– In order to accomplish this task, we need to be humble to recognize our weakness and limitation. Let God increase and us decrease in ourselves; we will achieve many wonderful things in our life.
– Don’t let the devil and the world tempt us to do our will because this way of life won’t lead us to our final destiny.