But -what if the pen had a mind of it’s own. Instead of writing words of love and encouragement, the pen decided to write words of slander, and gossip, and blasphemy. This pen WOULD change the world – but this wasn’t quite what the maker had in mind. Instead of spreading hope and love, this pen was used to poke someone's eye out.
Or what if this pen was made perfectly, but then laid in a drawer for 100 years until the ink dried out. It was made to change the world, but since it never wrote anything, it's purpose was never fulfilled…
That’s what the 2nd reading is talking about. "To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit." Each one of us was given some talent or gift with a specific purpose. We may not yet know what that gift is or what OUR purpose is – but we know that somehow, that talent or gift is meant to build up Christ's church. We were made to spread the love of Jesus… serving others before thinking of ourselves. We were made to change the ordinary life of the people around us into the extraordinary life of hope that Christ holds out for us. In short – we each have a gift that was given for US to change the world.
You might even say, that WE are called to change the water into wine. Now that I think about it – I guess we really DO that… there’s 60 gallons of it working in my basement right now! Because of the grapes and sugar that you all contributed, this community really IS turning water into wine. But, I digress...
Notice something in the Gospel – there were 6 empty jars sitting there. What were they for? They had been made for a specific purpose… they were used in the ceremonial washings that the Jews did before meals. God had given them the law of the old testament as a way to change THEM…to lead them closer to him. But just like my pencil, the law seemed to have a mind of its own and people forgot what its purpose was. Instead of bringing people closer to God, it became just a bunch of rules – and people became SOOO scrupulous that they had to wash a certain number of times and let it drip from their fingers a certain number of times – and the only thing that was important was whether or not you followed the RULES perfectly… and God was lost in the process. The old covenant didn’t fulfill its purpose.
See – there’s more to the Gospel than changing water into wine. Those six jars signify that Jesus was taking the misunderstood law of the old testament and transforming it into a new covenant. Not only that, but think a little deeper… what else might this miracle be a symbol of? What is it that is THE central act that seals the new covenant? One act – and we do it every week – in fact – over 300,000 times per day all over the world – the wine is changed into the blood of Jesus... And when we drink that wine, our blood is changed into the blood of Jesus..because we become Christ's body.
That's right...The blood of Jesus flows through our veins. You and I were given “a manifestation of the spirit”...a talent...a gift...and If we allow God to use us for HIS purpose, and don't hide ourselves in a drawer somewhere, then through us, Jesus can not only change water into wine... He can change the world!
Now, think about how this applies to You personally ... Each of us has a set of talents...something we are good at...something we like to do...and God put you in this parish specifically to use that gift to help His church. Let me give you some examples: Some people sing. Some read. Fr Eugene was given the gift to remember names...and to bring us the eucharist and other sacraments, some people like to be involved, but want to avoid the limelight, so they serve as sacristans. These are the people who setup for mass. It is a great way to be involved and learn about the mass, but not have to be in front of people...and we really could use a few more folks to help once a month. Another example ..say you are good at organizing events... Many of our commissions could use your help. For example, the parish social or the mardi gras..., specifically, I know the adult formation team has several events scheduled over the next four months. We need people from both parishes who are willing to pitch in to just help make things happen. If you are like me, You want to grow in YOUR knowledge of the faith AND you want to help others to learn as well..then this is the group for you.
Seriously. How is God using you for his parish? Some cut the grass, install lights, take up collection, teach religious Ed...the list goes on. You've heard the saying "it takes a village", well it fits here...it takes a parish, because each of us has a different gift to share. Don't leave your gift laying in the drawer.