A Thousand Bottles of Wine

Dear Parishioners,

There is so much to reflect upon with the Wedding Feast of Cana.  This is our Gospel reading this Sunday, the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Yes, we are officially back in Ordinary Time.  We will climb all the way up to the 8th week in Ordinary Time before switching to Lent at the beginning of March.

The water is symbolic of the Old Covenant.  Notice the water is specifically mentioned to be in "six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings." The relationship of the Jews to God in the Old Testament was not as vibrant as it could be.  Jesus transforms the water into wine; he transforms the faith.  Our relationship with God in the New Covenant is now something totally exhilarating and fulfilling.  This is the power of the Holy Spirit.  Notice our second reading is a description of all the gifts or charisms of the Holy Spirit. 

This joyful relationship with God has no bounds.  Jesus created essentially over a thousand bottles of wine.  That was more than enough for a wedding.  Even an Edison Park block party couldn't drink that much!  The abundance of wine is symbolic of the limitless joys of the Gospel.  As the gifts of the three wise men opened our eyes to see the baby Jesus as the Lord of all the world, so too does the new wine enlighten us about the Son of God.  God wants us to be inebriated with his love and holiness.

Finally, we cannot discuss Jesus' first miracle without bringing up Mary.  The Blessed Mother is the one who prompts the miracle when she comments to her son, "They have no wine."  A relationship with Mary will only enhance our relationship with her Son and, ultimately, enhance our experience of the faith.

There is no school tomorrow, Monday, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I look forward on Tuesday to speaking with the pre-K classes in the church about the Sacrament of Baptism.  Wednesday I will be one of the science fair judges for the junior high students.  Otherwise, our faculty will be getting ready for Catholic Schools Week next week, beginning with the open house next Sunday, January 27th. 

Pastoral Council will still meet, however, at 7pm in the parish center.  Among several items, the Pastoral Council is exploring beginning an Alpha Group here at St. Juliana.  If you're not familiar with Alpha and are curious to learn more, you can visit the website at alpha.org.  In short, this is a small-group method of evangelization; that is, helping people deepen their faith and develop their personal relationship with Christ.  The Archdiocese of Chicago is a proponent of Alpha and will most likely in the future be encouraging all parishes to try it.  If Alpha is something you would be interested in and would even like to be part of initiating in the parish, please contact me, even if you are not part of the Pastoral Council.

Bishop Mark Bartosic, our new auxiliary bishop or vicar (Bishop Frank Kane, our previous auxiliary, retired), will be visiting the parish on Wednesday afternoon.  Welcome Bishop Bartosic!

Have a blessed week.  I was hoping to be able to write something in this bulletin about cheering on the Bears in the NFC Championship Game.  Oh well.  I'm praying for the grace to forgive Cody Parkey. 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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