Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Most dangerous homily

I did one of the cardinal sins of homily preparation. I only preached at Sts. Peter and Paul church this weekend. I changed the content of my homily in the middle of mass. I had really been struggling with a message all week and couldn't come up with one. I tried and tried but nothing would come. Then, parly because of this statement from the first reading...

" For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet..."

and mostly because of this interraction from the gospel....

"When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him,
'They have no wine.'
And Jesus said to her,
'Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.'
His mother said to the servers,
'Do whatever he tells you.'”

It reminded me of a church sign I had seen on the way up that didn't seem to make sense to me until I connected it with this gospel. It said something like, "Sometimes silence isn't golden. Sometimes it's yellow." I realized that the implications were that we are called, at points, to speak up and not just sit back on our laurels. This, it seems to me, is the call Mary gives to us today. She saw a need. There was no wine. She turns to her son who isn't just being disrespectful in his address. The term "woman" here is an honorific term as though he was saying, "my lady" or "my beloved". He's telling her that it's not yet his hour to reveal himself as messiah, a feat that he accomplishes each Sunday when he comes to us in bread and WINE. I believe there must have been a look exchaged between mother and son to get him to change his mind. It's the look that only a mother can give her disagreeable son to get him to change his mind. Mary knew that this was too important to be put off by the word "no".

As believers, I feel like we give up too easily when we initially hear "no". When theologians claimed that dissent was the best way to respond to Humane Vitae, Pope Paul IV's encyclical on birth control, we followed their advice. As predicted, it led to an unparalleled disrespect for human life because we didn't speak up and follow what the Pope said. We are being called to speak out, like Mary, to respect human life. During this month that marks the anniversary of the greatest civil rights tragedy of our time, Roe v. Wade, a decision which allows thousands of people to be denied the right to life EVERY DAY, we must renew our calls to law makers and not accept their simple minded "no's"