2nd Sunday after Epiphany 19.1.20 One continuous miracle
Our Lord worked many miracles. Some miracles were corrections of something that was disordered, eg giving a blind man sight, or restoring a dead man to life. Blindness and death are disorders, and need to be reversed.
Other miracles took something that was good in itself and made it better, eg the multiplication of the loaves, or the turning of water into wine (today’s Gospel).
Each miracle has a short- term and long-term effect.
The short-term effect was that people were very impressed, moved to gratitude or praise of God.
The long-term effect was that people would learn from the miracle, would read the deeper meaning that was always there.
Our Lord did not want just to give a short-term blessing; He was preparing a whole change of mentality.
So for example He healed a blind man and gave him sight. He was glad to help that particular man and make his life happier. But even more Our Lord wanted all of us to benefit from the miracle: to see that He had come to restore our spiritual sight, so that we could see the right way to live, and avoid snares which lay in our path.
All His miracles had this double effect – the short term for those involved and the long term for the rest of us.
He rescues us from our false thinking and idle pursuits and gives us true direction. He works on our minds and hearts, inviting us to a deeper happiness.
We tend to start with the short term ourselves, whatever our current set of problems may be. Lord, help me with this or that - often material or physical needs, legitimate concerns in themselves, but still we should look deeper.
We understand that Our Lord is seeking to cleanse us of all sin and error; to replace what is disordered with what should be there instead; to turn vices into virtues; to make what is already good better still.
Today’s miracle foreshadows an even greater miracle – the water becomes wine, and later the wine becomes Blood.
This is what we receive in Holy Communion, our closest and deepest contact with Divinity.
Frequent sacraments, frequent prayer, eventually will make us see beyond just short-term benefits.
In fact the whole of Our Lord’s time on earth can be seen as one continuous miracle: namely that He brought divinity into our world.
Humanity would learn to share in Divinity; to think, speak and act in a God-like way, at least as concerns charity.
We would take our place as stewards of His creation, ruling in His name over all that He has created; using everything as He orders it; each person meanwhile living in the dignity of a child of God and a disciple of Christ.
To get to that state of affairs we continue to receive the Sacraments, to pray at every opportunity; to call forth the power of God to work miracles in our time (such as to extinguish bushfires), and the greater miracle still that people will look for the deeper meaning and be transformed.
We must not be discouraged by the size of the task. If we do our bit God will do much more.
We bring our five loaves of bread and let Him feed the whole world!