Sunday, Jan. 20, is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
This year, we have four weeks of Ordinary Time before entering the season of Lent.
The stories the Gospels tell during these four weeks are fitting to our own mission in the Year of Faith. They are:
Jan. 20: Jesus launches his public ministry at the request of Our Lady at Cana. Our 2013 Year of Faith efforts should begin with Mary, too.
Jan. 27: Jesus proclaims himself the Messiah. The Year of Faith is a time to study Jesus and learn who he is.
Feb. 3: Townspeople attempt to kill Jesus. The Year of Faith will require courage and self-sacrifice to be effective.
Feb. 10: Jesus instructs his apostles just as he instructs us today — "Put out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch." Jesus doesn’t just call us to action; the results are all up to him.
Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96:1-3, 7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-12
And so begins Ordinary Time in the Year of Faith.
Today, we learn from Jesus to put Mary at the center of our efforts in the New Evangelization.
The first thing to note is the significance of today’s Gospel. This isn’t just a story about turning water into wine for the sake of a wedding.
The key line comes at the end of the story: "Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him."
This is a story about Jesus revealing who he is — and it all starts with Mary.
Mary is the center of the scene. She initiates Christ’s miracle with four words to him: "They have no wine."
She gathers the helpers Jesus needs with five words to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you."
This is true femininity. She is not a passive, voiceless observer — she uses the force of her personality to call her Son to action, and the servants along with him, not by being demanding, but by pointing them to others.
She can do the same in this Year of Faith.
The Vatican held a conference on the Church in America in the days before the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in December. The conference follows up on Pope John Paul II’s document Ecclesia in America, and it was particularly focused on the role of Our Lady in the New Evangelization.
Benedictine College’s president was there. He said the conference focused on what Blessed John Paul wrote about Our Lady of Guadalupe: "The Virgin of Guadalupe was from the start a symbol of the inculturation of the Gospel, of which she has been the lodestar and the guide. Through her powerful intercession, the Gospel will penetrate the hearts of the men and women of America and permeate their cultures, transforming them from within."
Speakers explained how Mary’s role in the New Evangelization is very much like her role at Cana. It is her intercession that can gain the graces the culture needs. And we can take to heart for ourselves the words she spoke to the servants: "Do whatever he tells you."
There are many ways to promote the Year of Faith, and we will look at them in the future. But it’s appropriate that we start by asking Our Lady to be here with us as we begin.
As Pope John Paul prayed: "Give us strength to proclaim your word with courage in the work of the New Evangelization, so that the world may know new hope. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, pray for us!"
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.