1 John 5: 14-21
John: 2: 1-11


And so today, we reach the outer edge of the feast of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate Epiphany with the arrival of the wise ones, the stargazers, those who study the stars to understand what is really happening on earth. Along with our brothers and sisters from the Eastern churches, we celebrate tomorrow the completion of Christmas when the new prince of peace is recognised not just by the shepherds, but these representatives from the wider world who bow their heads at the great gift in this tiny child. We recall the showing forth to the world of God’s promises of fulfilment in the gift and the life of Jesus. Today we are introduced to the first letter from John, or at least from the community of John, still less than 60 years after the earthly life of Jesus. John reminds us that if we ask anything, according to his will, he will answer us. We are encouraged to hold firm to our trust in the continuing presence of the Christ that has been promised to us.

John’s Gospel starts by giving us a photograph of Jesus in the magnificent prologue: In the beginning, was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Then our attention is suddenly switched back to the Baptist, the Precursor, the one who came before Him to prepare the world to receive this Promised One. But here we are reminded not so gently that John is simply the Precursor of the One who comes, so as to prepare things for the real act. Jesus is the main act. Everything else points to him and depends on him.

It seems that in the beginning days of our church, there was a struggle between the followers of John the Baptist who wanted to promote their master at Jesus’ expense. So, John, in this passage, reminds his followers that he is just that – the one who prepares, the one who helps people be ready to receive the Promised one Jesus.  It’s good for us if we are ever tempted to let our omnipotence complex take over – the world really does depend on me and my efforts to remember. The feast reminds us that we are always receivers; we are to clear the way, so the light and love of God in Jesus really shines.   

So, today’s gospel takes us to the first of the signs from Jesus of the presence of God and God’s spirit. We are taken to the Cana wedding- feast, where water becomes fine wine, to the laughter and the happiness and the celebration of the feast. The Baptiser prepared the community for this time when Jesus will show us the new way of God’s presence among us. Now is the Lord’s time! The Lord takes delight in his people. And so, we can rejoice even in the midst of challenges and struggles as we prepare for the God-touched year that is about to open before us.  

He is still our Emmanuel. The best is yet to come.

Fr. Kevin Dance CP is the vicar of the St.Brigid’s Retreat, Marrickville. He is very actively involved in ministries locally and at Passionist International where he served as the Executive Director for many years.