1/20: Many Gifts and the One Gift of Joy

Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP | Flickr | bit.ly/2Rp7Zu4

2 Epiphany, January 20

Isa. 62:1-5Ps. 36:5-101 Cor. 12:1-11John 2:1-11

Do not be enticed and led astray to idols that cannot speak. Rather, be filled with the Spirit of God and speak with him by saying in full confidence, “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:2-3). Following this confession, a variety of gifts, services, and activities are given to each one individually for the common good of the Church (1 Cor. 12:7). Though not offering an exhaustive list, St. Paul speaks of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. “All these are activated by one and the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11).

Every member of the church lives in Christ, and every member of the church has a gift that is the ministration of Christ for both the good of the individual and the building up of the whole church. “In [Christ] the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God” (Eph. 2:21-22). Every gift is a measure of one essential gift: the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God. God is love, so love is given to every person, and since love is delight, joy is imparted to each and all.

To be sure, weeping may spend the night, exhaust days and years, but in the end joy comes, the joy of the risen Lord, victory over death and the grave. Speaking of love and obedience, Jesus speaks also of joy. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11). This is a message so needed in our distressed time, so needed when almost all news about the church in North America is of challenge and decline. We desperately need to drink the cup of joy Christ offers, the joy that he is, deep and full.

The story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee, at which Jesus transformed water into wine, highlights the person, authority, and power of Jesus, and it draws attention to the disciples’ resultant belief. “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, … and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). Every sign in John’s gospel points to Jesus and is a call to faith in him. This particular sign evokes a new dispensation from the Jewish rites of purification to the new wine (new life) that Christ is. It further suggests elements of the messianic banquet referenced often in Scripture. The one great point of the miracle almost universally ignored is that in purely human terms it is unnecessary. They have run out of wine. Jesus says to his mother, “[W]hat concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). No one is blind or deaf or lame or dead.

“You make grass grow for flock and herds and plant to serve mankind; that they may bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden our hearts” (Ps. 104:14-15). Wine gladdens the hearts of the wedding guests, of the bride and groom, of everyone who knows Christ Jesus the Lord. Jesus wants and gives love and joy. Be bold to take it. Take your crown of beauty and be the married land of the Lord (Isa. 62:3-4).

Look It Up
Read Psalm 36:8-9.

Think About It
Jesus is the river of your delight, the fountain of life, and steadfast love.


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