Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love can perform wonders

Tonight the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox church embarks on a fifty day lent going through various aspects of human frailty while looking to God in the hope that God will never forsake us.The bible reading for today's Eucharist service St. John 2:1-11 invites us into Jesus' first miracle initiated by his own mother. But aren't we usually missing the point of the miracle when we look at other aspects of the miracle even when one aspect stands out?

1. Love should be above everything- Jesus and his capability of loving everything around him was fabulous. Instead of going along with the societal notion that money flies even above the eagle, Jesus shows that love flies above everything else. Jesus’ love for God’s creation and the mutual love of Jesus with the two blessed forms of the trinity expresses his love for the creation of God. Even when the wine runs out and there is a panic which also makes the mother reach out to her son, Jesus shows what love can do.

The people who were asked to wait upon Jesus are told to fill the stone jars with water. They know what they filled and so does Jesus. But Jesus loves the water and it leads to the transformation of the water. How far can we transform others towards the benefit of all, with our love? Will we remain stone jars or will we offer ourselves for transformation with the love Jesus offers us?

2. Love defines our relationships- We are given a chance to love others through a network created for us through God. We have our family and several members of our family, friends and acquaintances to love and show love to. Jesus had declined Mother Mary’s offer to help the house of celebration. But the plea of Mother Mary was not an ordinary plea but a plea covered with love. This was the love for her son. When she asks her son to help the hosts, she transfers her love for family to new heights. Jesus feels this love and even though he clarifies that his time is not up, he finally performs a miracle. It is a miracle initiated by love.

Jesus uses the stone jars to show this aspect of love. The stone jars filled with water were used for purification but were used for outward purification. The stone like feeling one had remained with outside purification. So Jesus uses the stone jar to show that the love of his mother towards him and his love towards humanity can change the stoniness of the jar and transform that into something life giving and something which can bring happiness.

Even as Valentine’s day brought about the usual commercial activity and hue and cry about erosion of cultural values the story of Fr. Valentine and his commitment towards couples in love and his love towards them takes us to the path of love. Even when the emperor asked the men in the kingdom to forgo marriage for the sake of war, Fr. Valentine supported true love and brought people together in true love. Love is above and beyond everything and love indeed defines our relationships.
This lent, can we evaluate our lives and truly say that we love God and love God’s creation and the network of family, friends, acquaintances and church that God has given us? Or are we still stone jars filled with water that refuse to transform, all the while claiming to offer purity to others? Amen.

(Excerpts from a sermon preached in St. Ignatius JSO Church, K.R.Puram, Bangalore.)
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