Homily for the Saturday before Epiphany
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the revelation that the child born in Bethlehem is indeed the Promised One, He is indeed the Messiah. As we look at the crèche this morning, we see the Wise Men, the Magi who have come from the East bringing their gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh, a representation of that Feast that we will soon celebrate. The Gospel readings that we heard yesterday and today have been somewhat preparing us for tomorrow’s feast by giving us other epiphanies, other revelations of Jesus being the Messiah.
Yesterday’s Gospel of Mark’s account of the Baptism of the Lord recalled how John the Baptist was giving witness and testimony to Jesus being the One who was promised by God, and then the Father speaking from heaven and the Spirit descending upon Jesus in the moment He rises from the water at the completion of His baptism. Those were to indicate that Jesus was the One whom the people of Israel have long awaited. Today’s Gospel of the wedding at Cana is another manifestation of Jesus’ identity, of Jesus’ purpose. In performing His first miracle, by turning the water into wine, Jesus is not just revealing Himself as the Son of God, but He is revealing that God was now establishing a New Covenant with His people.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see so many moments when the Israelites have broken their Covenant with God. Their disobedience, their lack of faith, their obstinance to turn away from following false idols…the list goes on and on. Because of that, there was a need for a new covenant between God and His people. In this moment when Jesus performs this miracle at Cana, He was showing that He was the fulfillment of that New Covenant, He was the One in which the covenant would rest upon, the One through Him is was completed. He was the One who would manifest to the people of Israel and to all humanity, that “God has visited His people,” that God has wedded Himself to humanity so that we can return to the house of the Father and enjoy eternity with God.
Today and every day that we come to Mass, we witness another Epiphany, we witness another revelation that Jesus is the Son of God. We witness a greater miracle than the one at the Wedding at Cana. Every time we gather around this altar for the celebration of the Eucharist, God reveals Himself to us. He takes ordinary bread and wine and changes its very substance into the Body and Blood of His Son. We are so privileged to not only witness that miracle, but to receive it into our very bodies; we consume the very Body and Blood of Jesus so that we can become Jesus ourselves. It is a reminder to us of God’s love and care for us. It’s a reminder of the New Covenant that He has established with us.
So as we prepare to bring this year’s celebration of the Christmas season, let’s recall all those moments in our lives when Jesus has been made manifest to us – the times when He has stepped into our lives in some way, the times He has walked with us through difficult or challenging moments, the times He allowed us to experience His love, His peace, His mercy, His joy. Today, let’s thank Him for those mini epiphanies and ask Him to continue to be with us all the days of our lives.
Photo: The Wedding at Cana, in stained glass, St. Mary Catholic Church (Dayton, OH). Photographer: Nheyob. Wikicommons. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.