20 January 2019
About Zion I will not be silent,
about Jerusalem I will not grow weary,
until her integrity shines out like the dawn
and her salvation flames like a torch.
The nations then will see your integrity,
all the kings your glory,
and you will be called by a new name,
one which the mouth of the Lord will confer.
You are to be a crown of splendour in the hand of the Lord,
a princely diadem in the hand of your God;
no longer are you to be named ‘Forsaken’,
nor your land ‘Abandoned’,
but you shall be called ‘My Delight’
and your land ‘The Wedded’;
for the Lord takes delight in you
and your land will have its wedding.
Like a young man marrying a virgin,
so will the one who built you wed you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,
so will your God rejoice in you.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. One may have the gift of preaching with wisdom given him by the Spirit; another may have the gift of preaching instruction given him by the same Spirit; and another the gift of faith given by the same Spirit; another again the gift of healing, through this one Spirit; one, the power of miracles; another, prophecy; another the gift of recognising spirits; another the gift of tongues and another the ability to interpret them. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who distributes different gifts to different people just as he chooses.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
Do whatever he tells you
I don’t normally do a lot of praying for other people, but recently I did some fervent intercessions for a couple of friends who had major things happen to them. One of them is beginning a journey as a shepherd of Christ in the church. Another is facing a tough trial as a loved one battles illness. As I prayed, I thought of the question “Why pray?”, and felt that I had an answer. We pray to be attuned to God and the needs of others. The effort to make the prayer is an effort of love for others and of our faith in God.
The exchange between Mary and Jesus at the wedding feast is an interesting one. How long had Mary known of Jesus’ abilities? Did she know how her Son was going to ‘conjure up’ additional wine (or had she seen Him do it before?)? Or was it that she simply had a firm conviction that He would go to the aid of the soon-to-be-badly-embarrassed newlyweds? Jesus appeared to have indirectly refused His mother’s request at first, but still went on to perform His first recorded public miracle, providing abundance when there was none. Mary’s role as intercessor is evident here. She made a plea to Jesus on behalf of the wedding couple, prompting Him to begin His ministry though He might not have planned to do so at that time.
I can’t say that I have a strong Marian devotion, but I do find myself praying the Hail Mary a lot when I am in physical pain or suffering great anxiety. Somehow, it is comforting to know that a caring, maternal figure, the mother of Christ herself, is interceding with God on my behalf.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for a faith like that of Mary’s.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the gift of Mary, our dearest mother and most devoted intercessor.