Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Second Sunday after Epiphany—16 January A.D. 2011

“Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

 Wedding at Cana

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English

Those of you who were at Mass on January 6th may remember that I said that the feast of the Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of our Savior to His people. The Mass and Office on that day actually call to mind three different such manifestations. The first and most obvious is the manifestation of the infant Jesus to the shepherds and the wise men. The second manifestation took place when Jesus was baptized by St. John in the Jordan river; which also happens to be the first clear manifestation of the holy Trinity, for on that event we saw the Holy Ghost descending upon on Our Lord in the form of a dove, and we heard the voice of God the Father acknowledging His “Beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.” The third manifestation commemorated on the Epiphany is our Lord's first miracle, this turning of water into wine, which marks the beginning of His public life.

We will, of course, have much more to hear about His public life during the rest of the year. We'll hear a good deal more about the miracles that He worked and the teaching that He conveyed to His disciples.

Today that teaching is summarized for us by Saint Paul in the words he has for the Romans. We are to make good and careful use of the gifts that God has given to us, recognizing that we each may have different talents and different failings. We are to avoid evil and do what is good. We are to have a certain affection for our fellow Christians, treating each others as brothers and sisters, trying to anticipate one another's needs, sharing each other's weeping as well as rejoicing.

We are cautioned to be fervent in spirit. That means that we shouldn't be mechanical—“Sunday only”—Catholics, praying and keeping the Commandments because we must. If we are “fervent in spirit,” we will do all of these things—and more—because we love God. This is a particularly important caution from Saint Paul, in that if we lack fervor we will fall behind in the spiritual life—there is no standing in one place. Closely related to this, Paul tells us to be “constant in prayer.”

Saint Paul urges a certain “other-worldly” detachment; to bless even those that persecute us. Even though we may pray that their persecution will cease, we must also remember to pray for their conversion from evil. We are not to be concerned with the “high-minded” things of the world, but must consent to be humble, placing our trust in the Lord.

The Gospel picks up on this last idea, of trusting in divine providence, for we see that our Lord does help us out in our necessities. And it points out that our Lord's graces come to us through His Blessed Mother. It was she that noticed that the couple “had no more wine.” It was she that brushed aside His objection about His “time” having “not yet come.” It was she that got things going by telling the waiters to do whatever her Son said to do. Likewise it behooves us to set our wants and necessities before the Blessed Virgin.

And, while it is true that Mary noticed the needs of the bridal couple without them asking for her help, it is only prudent that we make a point of having Mary remember who we are. A good mother concerns herself with all of her children; the good and the bad, the young and the old, those who are near and those who are far away. However, we all know that those children get the most attention (and the most rapid attention) who are close to their mother, paying close attention to her and telling her of their love—maybe even pulling on the seam of her skirt once in a while.

For us, that means things like wearing her scapular, being chaste and modest as she is, offering her our communions on First Saturdays and other Marian feasts, directing our prayers through her to her Son. And you might think of the rosary as being like the hem of her skirt— something to be tugged at frequently.

So this then is the final feast of our Lord's Epiphany or manifestation. From the standpoint of the lessons we will learn at Mass throughout the year it is the beginning of His public life. And hopefully, it will teach us a lesson that we will not forget:

That God is provident and looks after the spiritual needs of all His people, dispensing His graces through our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the best way to Jesus is through Mary.


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