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The Sweet Wine of Surrender

First Reading: 1 John 5:14-21

Beloved:
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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 149:1-2, 3-4, 5 AND 6A AND 9B

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Gospel: John 2:1-11

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,
“Draw 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,
“Everyone 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.

NAB

One of the most special moments of my wedding was a surprise appearance at the altar of wine brought from Cana by my husband’s aunt and uncle. I thought in the moment that it was such a sweet sentiment, that it made the Mass so special. And yet, in the nineteen years of growing up I have done since that day, I have come to see the water-to-wine miracle of Cana with much less sentimentality than I once did and that Jesus will make wine out of the water in our lives if we can unite our will to His.

Years of learning the sacrifices of love that life demands of all us, whatever our vocation and momentary mission, have opened my eyes to the pressing that must be done in order to squeeze the wine of holy offering from the water of our wills. Our Blessed Mother models for us how to stand before the Holy Spirit and offer our fiat of “be it done unto me,” then turn to God the Father and sing our Magnificat with her in a chorus of “my soul rejoices in my God,” and then to turn to Jesus the Son with a knowing faith and say to yourself and the world, “do whatever he tells you.” We can only do this with a surrender of faith that comes from a heart that is laser-focused on the holy communion of joining our will to His.

The First Reading tells us that “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” These prayers of fiat, magnificat, and water-to-wine obedience are some of the few prayers we can pray with certainty that we are praying according to His will and that He will hear us. As this season of Christmas draws to a close and we begin to move our focus to the “ordinary” time of the year, the ordering of our wills to the holy will of God, let these become the prayers of hearts, sisters.

In the daily offering of our lives to God, let us take the water of sentimentality and let it be pressed down and poured out into the wine of sacrificial, surrendered love of God. Linger a bit longer at the manger and search the eyes of the Blessed Mother for a glimpse of what it looks like to believe so deeply in the good love of God that your life can be lived in the posture of holy surrender.

photo credit

Colleen Mitchell is wife to Greg and mother to five amazing sons here on earth. They serve in Costa Rica where they run the St. Francis Emmaus Center, a ministry that welcomes indigenous mothers into their home to care for them pre and postpartum. She is the author of Who Does He Say You Are. Find out more about her here.

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