SECOND SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
The first and third readings use marital images to describe God’s relationship with his people. The second reading speaks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
FIRST READING: Isaiah 62:1-5
These verses from the third section of Isaiah 56-66 were written during the turbulent years after Israel’s return from exile in Babylon. During her exile, Israel felt ‘forsaken’ and ‘desolate.’ The prophet seeks to reassure the people that God has not forgotten them even though they are disloyal to him. The reading opens with God’s refusal to be silent in the face of Israel’s misfortune: “For Zion’s sake, I will not be silent.” Nations that hold Israel in contempt will witness the restoration of her status. God, Israel’s husband, is coming to reclaim his disloyal bride. There will be a new beginning, a new marriage symbolized by a new name, ‘My Delight.’
A second sign of the new beginning is the promise of reconstruction of the land which will now be called ‘Espoused.’ Forgiven and rehabilitated, Israel will be restored to its status as the “espoused and beloved” of God. The God who called us into being offers us a new beginning when-ever we call upon him.
SECOND READING: 1Corinthians 12:4-11
For the next four Sundays, the second reading will be from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. For the next three Sundays, Paul will speak about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In these verses, Paul is addressing difficulties that have arisen in the community over the exercise of the charismatic gifts. Arrogance and competition over the gifts are threatening to divide the community. Paul reminds his readers of two important facts concerning these wonderful gifts of the Spirit. First, all these gifts are graces from God. They have done nothing to earn or deserve them. Second, the gifts are not given so that individuals may think that they are superior to others, but rather for the blessing of the community.
GOSPEL: John 2:1-11
In John’s Gospel, miracles are signs intended to manifest the glory of God through Jesus and to lead people to faith. Toward the end of the Gospel, we read the words: “Thus did he reveal his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” Jesus uses a simple wedding occasion to reveal himself as the bride-groom Israel has waited for, for hundreds of years. He is sent by God to woo and wed a new bride, a new Israel, joining Jews and Gentiles into one body.
A central theme in John’s Gospel is what scholars call replacement theology. John presents Jesus as the one who replaces Jewish customs, rituals and feasts with himself. Previously used as a means to holiness, these customs and rituals are now replaced by Jesus himself, whose teaching, death and resurrection saved us and offer us new life.
“They have no more wine.” On a literal level, these words mean that the wine for the wedding has run out. But on a deeper level, it signifies the end of one dispensation and the beginning of another, the end of salvation through the observance of the law and purification rites, and the beginning of salvation with our acceptance of Jesus by doing whatever he tells us.
“My hour has not yet come,” is a reference to Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. The “abundance of wine” is