Her Doctrine and Morals

Second Sunday after The Epiphany

17 January 2016


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Dear Friend,

With the celebration of the Epiphany, we observed the Magi, led by a star, recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and publically proclaiming this truth with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Last Sunday, the feast of the Holy Family, we saw in the Gospel Jesus as a boy teaching in the Temple and submitting to the human authority of Mary and Joseph over Him. This brings us to today's Gospel, where we see Jesus working His first public miracle. Each of these incidents are manifestations of His Divinity. The Magi, offered frankincense, and incense is only properly offered to God, so this proclaimed that The Child is God. Jesus as a Boy taught in the Temple, proving that His wisdom was not just natural human wisdom, but rather is the Wisdom of God.

Today, we see that Jesus does not act in a human way. His apparent rebuke to His Mother, is an indication to us that what He is about to perform He is doing, not in His human nature, but rather as God. This, first of the public miracles of God caused the Apostles to believe in Him and follow Him. The Epiphany is thus made even more manifest — God our Savior has arrived. Jesus Christ is The One and Only.

The season of the Epiphany is, also, clearly demonstrating to us that there is a type of marriage taking place between God and His human creatures. His delight is to be with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8, 31) The miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana continues this idea. The first public miracle is at a wedding feast, and God would have us understand how holy and pleasing sacred marriage is to Him; but also He would have us know that we are to be spiritually wedded to Him. As husband and wife are no longer two, but are one in heart, mind, and body; so too, every true Catholic must become one with Jesus, in heart, mind, body, and soul.

The miracle that Jesus performed changed water into wine. This is the same miracle that God does when rain is taken up by the vine and turned into the fruit and is then picked and fermented; only this time, He does it in an instant. The miracle of God's grace within us can transform us gradually over time and step by step as He changes from rain, to the vine, to the fruit, to the wine; or it can be a transformation of an instant, as we see in today's Gospel. As the water becomes wine, so men are to be transformed into Christ. Our ultimate goal is to be able to say with St. Paul: "It is no longer I, but Christ living within me." (Gal. 2, 20) Water is lost in the wine, and the Catholic is lost in Jesus Christ.

A wife is lost in her husband. She assumes his name and becomes one with him. Water is lost in wine and becomes one with it. Every faithful Catholic, must in the same manner become lost in Christ and thus become one with Him. This is not so much the work of the wife, or of the water, or of the Catholic; it is principally the work of God. The wife receives her husband, the water receives the wine, the Catholic receives Jesus; however, in receiving, the receiver is changed rather than what is received being changed. This is not the ordinary way of the things of this world. Ordinarily, when we receive food into our bodies, the food is transformed and becomes one with our bodies — our bodies do not become one with the food we eat. When a wife receives her husband, he does not become one with her, but rather she becomes one with him. When water receives wine, the water becomes wine rather than, the wine becoming water.

When we were baptized the Holy Ghost entered into us; and when we receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion; God enters into us, we receive Him, but He does not become part of us, but rather we are to become one with Him. This is the mystical marriage that we are all called to enter into. It is in this marriage that God takes His delight. What takes place in this union is that we lose ourselves in Him. We no longer express our own wills, but rather we only seek to express the will of God. It is a complete conformity of wills. The creature (us) now acts completely and in conformity with the Intentions and Will of its Creator. This is how a good wife conforms herself to a good husband, and figuratively dies to herself. In this human marriage, we see that as the wife gives of herself, she normally and naturally brings forth a new life, the child of her husband. In a similar manner, the Catholic that gives himself to God and, in a sense, dies to himself, will bring forth a new life of grace. Grace is not so much the child (work) of the Catholic, as it is the work of God within the Catholic.

As we continue to contemplate the Mystical Body and our own membership in It as Brides of Christ; may the Epiphany (Christ's manifestation to us) become ever more clear and loved; so that we may, with the Apostles, believe and follow Him.

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