I know in one way I should probably feel a little guilty being down here in the warm south when I know what is going on up north in the next couple of days. I guess it was epitomized for me when I got a picture of the front of my Chancery in Syracuse yesterday and there was a water main break and it looked like a skating rink.
But as we gather on this 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and it was the end of the Christmas Season. So, now we have entered into this period of time we call “Ordinary Time”. We might say to ourselves, ‘What is Ordinary Time?’. For me, Ordinary Time is really all about as you and I go into our daily routines how do we let what we celebrated at Christmas become flesh in our own lives. How do we allow our Christmas feasting now to turn into action? That’s what we see in the word of God this Lord’s Day. In fact, it reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas poems, “The Work of Christmas Begins” that starts out “When the song of the angels is stilled” and follows with the stanzas: “when the shepherds are back with their flocks, and when the kings and the princes are home.”The author comes to the point “the work of Christmas begins”. You and I might ask ourselves this morning, what is the work of Christmas?
And so, the word of God helps us to answer this question in three particular ways. The first one comes in you and I remembering who we are in God’s eyes. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us this morning “No more shall people call you forsaken, or your land desolate. But you shall be called my delight and your land espoused, for the Lord delights in you and makes your land his spouse.” (Isaiah 62:5). That the Lord delights in you. Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of our God. And we remember the little refrain that goes with that “That God saw what he had made and it was good” (Genesis 1:31) And so today, you and I have to remember our goodness in God’s eyes, our giftedness. That is where you and I come to our second reading from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. We’re reminded that each one of us is gifted by God. None of us is a mistake. Again, quoting the Prophet Isaiah “I have called you by name, You are precious to me.” (Isaiah 43:1) That you and I, as we prayed in our psalm today “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name.” Psalm 96 So each day like our Mother, Mary, who is a central figure in our Advent and Christmas journey, and whose feast day we celebrated on the first day of this New Year. You and I are invited to also ask ourselves how do you and I magnify the Lord in our daily lives, how do we let the Lord be seen through us? Now I am going to be honest with you, it is not easy. If you had been with me yesterday afternoon you would have been challenged. I am going to tell you a quick short story. So, I have a rental car and of course this is a good thing. The rental car has this little key fob that you don’t even have to have a key to run your car. That’s ok unless the battery goes.
And then when you call the company you rented from, and they say you’ll have to go get a new battery. They say just go to the nearest gas station they’ll have it, and then the gas station tells you to go to the nearest Walmart or Walgreens, and then you go to Walmart, and they don’t have it, and they don’t even know how to open the device. So, then you have to go to the owner’s manual and take a picture of the pages you need, and you go in and finally find a Target and find what you need. But then you have to buy a screwdriver to open the device. But the battery got changed because I am here this morning. But it’s days like that, that you and I are challenged and may be saying things we shouldn’t be saying. But yet the Lord invites us, even in those moments, remember who you are. Remember who you are. Now, some of us in remembering who we are might feel like one of those stone water jars. We might be feeling quite empty right now. Even after the Christmas holidays, we might feel like we have given it all. We might feel like we have nothing more to give. That is where a relationship with Jesus Christ comes in, my sisters and brothers. It is Jesus Christ who can fill us. It is Jesus Christ who can change even the most mundane things in our lives. That is the simple message of today’s Gospel. In fact, our Mother, Mary tells us today “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5) She is giving us some very motherly advice. The problem is with us, who are kids, we don’t always listen. We don’t always listen to our parents. That is not just with the young ones, that is with the older ones too. The things is with this morning’s Gospel we are invited to know that when you and I open our lives, when you and I open our emptiness to our God, he can fill us. When he fills us, he doesn’t just give us what we need, he gives us the best. In giving us the best, that is what can then give us the strength to also give our best to those we meet along the way. For me that’s what the work of Christmas is all about, how do you and I let the word of God, the love of God, be seen today. How does Jesus Christ become flesh right here in Palm Beach Gardens, or wherever we find ourselves, right now this day and in the days to come? Brothers and Sisters, proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations. Amen.