II SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
isaiah 62:1-5; 1 corinthians 12:4-11; john 2:1-11
«the future is now»—a 1955 short film—went inside government research laboratories to showcase some of the products that would be used in the proximate future: computerized assembly lines, nuclear- and solar-powered batteries, industrial uses for television, video telephones, gadgets for instant home movies, irradiated food, fully automated kitchens… well, the future is now (and has been for decades already)!
that title could well apply to the readings of the day!
the first reading is situated in the period after the exiles’ return from babylon. their hopes were dashed by the massive task before them—of the physical rebuilding of jerusalem and the spiritual renewal of the people.
isaiah looks beyond the present to the future, to the end-time, when israel will be «a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD.» he sees that day as a wedding, a time of celebration and rejoicing, with GOD as the bridegroom and israel as the bride.
in the gospel, by making the turning of water into wine the first of JESUS’ signs, john announces that the future has arrived.
JESUS worked the sign in the context of a wedding. in the bible, weddings symbolise the era of salvation (isaiah 54:4-8, 62:4-5; matthew 8:11, 22:1-14; luke 22:16-18).
further, JESUS gave an abundance of choice wine (120 gallons!). the old testament describes the end-time as an era when there is an abundance of wine (amos 9:13-14; hosea 14:7; jeremiah 31:12). thus, the sign signifies the arrival of the era of salvation… the future is now!
and JESUS changed the water meant for the jewish purification rites into wine. he transformed those unwieldy symbols of the old way into harbingers of the new. the time for ritual cleansing has passed; the time for celebration has begun… the future is now!
but wait a sec! if the future era of celebration and rejoicing is here, why is there so much suffering and sadness? why is there so much desolation?
perhaps, we do not allow the LORD to enter our lives, we do not allow him to touch us. he transforms whatever and whomever he touches.
may you and i let him into our lives and allow him to touch us. then, for us, too, the future will be now!