Father Carey’s Pastor’s Corner
(Week of 01/16/2022)
My Dear Friends,
The OLA Sunday Collection Counting Committee is seeking additional registered OLA Parishioners to participate in the OLA Sunday collection process. Currently, the members of the Committee are organized in teams of two (2) that count the Sunday and Christmas collections on a rotating schedule. The collections are counted and summarized. If you are interested in joining the Collection Counting Committee, please contact the Parish Office. OLA Collection counting training will be provided. We thank you in advance for considering volunteering your time in this important ministry to our parish.
I take this opportunity to thank all of those who have responded so generously to this year’s Annual Appeal. If you have not returned your contribution as of yet, I invite you to do so as it greatly helps us to pursue our building projects. I am pleased to provide you with an update on our Appeal. Last October, we mailed out 906 letters to all of our registered families. As of this date, we have received 155 responses and have raised a total of $ 65,875. Once again, I offer heartfelt thanks to all of you for doing whatever you can, within your means, to support OLA. This Appeal usually winds down around the end of January. I invite those who may not have contributed to this important Appeal to do so. We are truly grateful!
Next week, our young Candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation will have a retreat at the St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA. It will be an opportunity to take some time aside to pray, reflect and celebrate Mass together in preparation for this Sacrament in which they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I thank Sister Rita Marian, our Director of Religious Education for organizing this event as well as our other catechists who work so hard teaching our young students each week. I would ask you then to remember this year’s candidates in your thoughts and prayers.
This Sunday, we begin the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. For many Sundays in this particular liturgical year, our readings will be taken from the Gospel of Luke. Occasionally, however, we will read from John’s Gospel. This is true of today’s Gospel reading, which describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and his very first miracle. This event follows Jesus’ calling of his first disciples. John tells us that Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding at Cana, as was Jesus’ mother, Mary.
In the Church’s liturgical history, the wedding feast of Cana that we celebrate this Sunday is closely associated with the Baptism of the Lord (celebrated last Sunday) as well as the adoration of the infant Jesus by the Wise Men or “the Epiphany” (celebrated the Sunday prior to that). All of these sequences of events in the life of our Lord are celebrated and understood theologically as “epiphanies” or “manifestations” of Jesus’ divinity at this time of year.
At the same time, Jesus’ impending passion and death is ever present in John’s Gospel. Even in this report of Jesus’ first miracle or “sign”, the language used anticipates Jesus’ passion. When Jesus says to his mother that his hour has not yet come, he protests against her wishes in language that Jesus will use again at the Last Supper with his disciples. At the washing of his disciples’ feet, Jesus knew that his hour had come. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is very much in command and aware of all that is to happen to him.
Here, as elsewhere in John’s Gospel, Mary is not mentioned by name, but is referred to instead as the mother of Jesus. Mary is influential in Jesus’ first sign. She will also be present at his Crucifixion, a witness to the final manifestation of his divinity. Our Lord will say to the disciple John (and by extension to us as the Church), “Behold, your Mother.”
Marriage and wedding feasts are metaphors used in Scripture to describe God’s salvation and the Kingdom of God. When asked to do something to address the awkward situation that the absence of wine at a wedding feast would create, Jesus’ miracle produces vast quantities of wine — 6 jars holding 30 gallons each are filled to overflowing with choice wine. The changing of water into such an abundance of wine signifies great joy.
This lavish response to a simple human need is a sign and vision for us of the abundance of God’s kingdom and the joy we should find each day in serving Him and others. It challenges us to respond generously when confronted with human need today. We respond as best we can, fully confident that God can transform our efforts (like water into wine), bringing the Kingdom of God to fulfillment among us.
Love and Prayers,