Reflections from the Shrine ...
From The Desk Of The Director
Rev. John P. Sullivan, M.S.
January 19, 2019
“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch.” This is the opening line from the first reading from this weekends mass, from the book of the Prophet Isaiah.
It reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr., who we honor Monday. He could not be silent when he saw the human rights of African American persons were being abused. Later in his prophetic life, he spoke out not only in defense of black people, but of all people whose dignity was not being respected. He used the gifts that God gave him to give a voice to people who had no voice.
What strikes me in the gospel for this weekend is when Mary saw the couple running out of wine at their wedding celebration, she said to her son Jesus; “They have no wine” When Jesu responded that he was not yet ready to begin his public ministry, because of her confidence in him, she said simply to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” So Jesus began to use His gifts as The Son of God to transform our world by this first sign at the wedding feast of Cana. “and his disciples began to believe in him”
We are all called to use our gifts to serve God and show our love of our Church. We all have gifts, even if it is only to give an encouraging word or smile to someone who is discouraged.
We also need to grow in our prayer in this new year. You are invited to come to our La Salette prayer group this Tuesday evening (January 22, 2019). The meeting will be in the North House at 7 pm. It is a good opportunity to not only pray for an end to racism and discrimination within our country, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but also pray for legal protection of the unborn children.
(2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 62)1-5; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; John 2:1-11)
“No more shall people call you ‘Forsaken,’ or your land ‘Desolate,’ but you shall be called ‘My Delight,’ and your land ‘Espoused’... As a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”
In all of the prophets, there are not many passages more hope-filled, more beautiful than this.
The people to whom Mary spoke through her two young messengers felt forsaken and their land had become desolate. She saw their distress and decided to intervene. I remember a conference on La Salette that I heard as a seminarian in the 1960s. The speaker made the point that the Beautiful Lady did not say, “I have been sent,” but rather, “I am here,” meaning that this was her idea. At La Salette, in other words, she took the initiative.
This is the image of Mary that we find in our Gospel text. She drew Jesus’ attention to the embarrassing situation of the wedding party. When he objected that this was none of their business, she knew he would come round, and told the servants to do whatever he told them.
The message of La Salette is the same as at Cana. It can be summed up in the words, “Do whatever he tells you.” Perhaps this is why one of the murals on the walls of the Basilica of La Salette, painted in 1989, represents the wedding feast at Cana.
The passage from 1 Corinthians further refines this thought. “Whatever he tells you” varies according to the gifts given by the Spirit. But the gift we have received has to be active in us if God is to accomplish his purpose.
Since La Salette is a spiritual gift, each of us upon whom it is bestowed is called to find his or her own way to share it. Here I am, writing this reflection, while someone else is seeking to heal a broken family, or offering up personal suffering for the cause of reconciliation, or... well, you get the point.
Mary chose to come to us. She highlighted a certain number of basic Christian duties, but the sense of her words goes well beyond those. They provide a framework for a faithful Christian life, where words like ‘forsaken’ and ‘desolate’ have no place.
Very Rev. Rene’ Butler, M.S.