I Corinthians 12: 4-11; John 2: 1-11
It’s been a rather bizarre week in the sports world. First we had the anticipation of the interview with Lance Armstrong and his confession of coming clean of all that he has been a part of and caused over the past years. There is also the bizarre story of Manti Te’O from Notre Dame of this hoax and fake girlfriend. Of course, everyone has an opinion and wants to cast judgment and criticize. I found myself, maybe with the grace of God, turning off the TV and simply asking myself if there was some way that I can relate to what these guys are going through because if you’re anything like me, I want to be like the rest…I want to judge and criticize them for choices made. Yet, I thought to myself, have I ever experienced the reality of living a lie. I thought about how families often do everything to cover things up because we fear judgment as easy as it is to judge others. When we can relate and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we can begin to empathize and grow as a person. I really do believe that that is what is so lacking in our world, the ability to empathize with people. We all fall into the trap of judging, criticizing, and comparing rather than stepping back and learning to empathize.
I believe it is the gift that Mary offers in today’s gospel. Knowing her own background that she faced and the struggle and risk that Mary and Joseph had to endure in bringing Jesus into the world and the many social implications that it had, allows Mary to take a step back and feel for this young, newly married couple in the gospel. She understands the implications and the risks involved in their lack of preparedness and the judgment that they will endure because of it. Mary has been there.
Of course, our inclination right away is to judge Jesus in the way he responds to his mother. I can assure you, most of us would never even think of responding to our mothers in the way he does or there would be consequences. He simply tells her that it’s none of her business and she needs to stay out of it. Yet, for John, it is always about a movement towards faith and trust, even for Mary, considered the first disciple, but also for the other disciples attending the party. For Mary and the disciples it is moving towards an understanding of who and what Jesus is and what is possible if you trust and have that faith, turning water into wine.
Paul can be very critical of many of the communities that he writes to, including Corinth, which we will hear from these next few weeks. Today, though, he shows the better side in entering this argument. He shows that he too can take a step back and understand this community from a different perspective. The people of Corinth find themselves fighting and judging over the gifts that have been given. They think one is better than the other and this person is more valuable than the other because of these gifts. Yet, Paul, tells them to stop, stop and remember where it is these gifts come from. Remember that it all comes from God and it is the Spirit that has evolved them within. He will go onto say next week that everyone of you is important! You all bring something to the community. We are many parts, but we remain one. In order to do that though, we must rise about the judgments, the criticism, and the comparisons that we so naturally fall into.
These readings can challenge us in the way we live our lives and the way we judge others. We are all prone but we can all also take a step back from our lives and recognize it about ourselves. The reality is, all of the judgments and such that we do say much more about us than it does the one we are judging. But if we can model Mary and the disciples, as well as Paul, by stepping back and move towards faith and trust, just imagine what God can do. If God can change water into wine, what can He do with us? God calls us to be the choice wine and desires to make us into it. We do that by becoming aware of our own judgments and comparisons, the lies we sometimes live, the dullness and deadness of our lives, the water, moving towards that faith and trust; through the grace of God, we will become that choice wine that we are called to be.