Brother Nicolas preaching at Evensong at Christchurch on the feast of the Epihpany asks “How Jesus reveals himself to us?”.
Sermon base on Baruch 4:36;5-6 & John 2:1-11
Nothing can save us in this world.
Absolutely nothing. No possession, money, power or authority can save us from death, hatred, arrogance or violence.
Our sinfulness cannot be healed by any of our actions or decisions.
We cannot save ourselves. This is the truth, the naked and deep truth of our humanity.
However, in today’s world, we are constantly invited to put our trust, our FAITH into the progress of technology, into the promises of politicians. We are not told to think or reflect but to blindly follow what we are told to do.
We are waiting. The whole secular world is waiting for something to happen. A sign, something spectacular.
Today, we are told that THIS SIGN HAPPENED! Why? Because God is faithful, he knows our hearts, that we need signs and wonders to live out our faith. We need to see his presence at work among us.
This sign isn’t perceived on the broads in the street, where we can see all the adverts concerning the new products we can buy. It isn’t on the TV or mainstream media.
This great and incredible sign is to be wondered at a Palestinian Jew, a man born in a manger, far away from the great palaces of Jerusalem.
In this small city of Cana, we have come to a wedding where Jesus sits alongside his friends and family. A typical ceremony we could witness even today. However, it’s during this feast that the glory of God is to be manifested in Jesus Christ.
Being God from all eternity, Jesus came in order to reveal the fullness of his being. Who he truly is. Though we can’t entirely understand his person until his Resurrection, our Lord shows his power and great might, as Jews expected from the prophetic times, in order to determine the time the Messiah would come.
Like his birth, we shouldn’t expect to see something marvellous, beyond imagination when we talk about Jesus’ divinity. The performing of signs and wonders isn’t spectacular but says something deeply important the kind of Messiah Jesus reveals to be.
In fact, Jesus reveals himself in our daily basis, like in this wedding in Cana. In this small manifestation, Jesus gives us the opportunity to meet him, away from the spectacles and giant parades made for pagan idols at that time. Jesus is to be met close to our hearts, in silence, the same silence of the night which the shepherds and the magi witnessed.
Saint Cyril of Alexandria, the great patriarch and defender of Jesus’ divinity, describes the spiritual meaning of this wedding. Jesus is the groom who provides wine to the bride, the whole of humanity. He fills our lives with a new and transforming power, which is not human but divine. As the wedding is celebrated in Cana and not in Jerusalem, it tells us that Jesus’ ministry will be rejected by the authorities, but willingly accepted by the Gentiles.
This is the great sign that Jesus’ birth already revealed with the coming of the Magi from the East. Our Lord is worshiped first by those rejected and marginalized by the Jews.
In today’s world, when we look at other people with unjust disdain and anger, it is in these people that Jesus reveals himself first. A contrite heart is more willing to receive him than a heart full of hatred and self conceit.
Saint John Chrysostom says that Jesus often purposely plays down his miracles, so they may be more readily received. Our Lord is willing to visit us, to reveal himself, only if he finds a heart able to listen and perceive. God does not impose himself, on the contrary he knocks at the door of our hearts and go in. As the Magi received the gift of the Christ child, let us receive the gift of Jesus’ slow revelation to us. Let us appreciate who he is. Let us discover his Sacred Heart of love and how he wants to abide in us.
Only Christ our God is able to save us from the tyranny of sin and restore us to life eternal, a right relationship with God. Jesus’ self revelation is free and gentle. All are called to receive him.
Salvation comes with Jesus, says St John in his prologue, where true unselfish, redeeming, sacrificial love transforms us all.
As we enter into Jesus’ ministry and the revelation of his saving work, let us pray God to give us open hearts and mind to bear witness to the one who came to enlighten us.
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.