The title of my homily for January 7th, the Saturday before the Epiphany, is, “Copiosa Apud Eum Redemptio.”
It’s the Redemptorist Motto: “Copious With Him Redemption.”
Or much better translations from the Latin, “With Him There is Fullness of Redemption.” Or, “With Him Abundant Redemption.” or “With Christ there is Plenteous Redemption.”
Today’s gospel - the story of Wedding Feast at Cana - imagines - describes - and pictures - what fullness of redemption looks like. It’s a wedding banquet that doesn’t run out of wine. It has lots of wine - plenty of wine - a fullness of wine.
We know the story: there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and they ran out of wine.
And the Mother of Jesus is there.
Just as Eve took the wrong fruit - Mary brings us Christ the fullness of the fruit of her womb. Take and eat. Take and drink.
Message: When empty, go to Christ and expect fullness.
Message: why have millions and millions of people gone up aisles in Catholic churches and knelt and begged at the images and ikons of Mary. They want help - always - perpetual help.
Hail Mary, full of grace .... full of gifts .... full of help....
Redemption, Salvation, Fullness, Abundance, Total Fulfillment, Satisfaction is often described as a banquet - where we get our total fulfillment.
And Jesus turns the water - 20 to 30 gallons of water - in 6 big water jars into wine. Jesus saves the wedding. Jesus saves the celebration. Jesus saves the couple. He does what Mary asks him to do. Help this couple. Save this situation.
The Book of Genesis begins with God creating this world in abundance - sun, moon, stars, birds, cattle, trees. And all is good.
The Book of Genesis begins with God creating man and woman and places them in a beautiful garden. And all is good.
Then man and woman mess up. We hear about sin in today’s first reading - especially with sin that kills - that is deadly - yet people bite into it. [Confer 1 John 5: 14-21]
Today’s gospel from John begins with the first miracle - the first sign of Christ’s arrival - and love - simply helping this couple. [Cf. John 2: 1-12]
This first sign of God’s New Presence with Christ - is that Jesus brings abundance. Our God is an overflowing and generous God.
What is our take - our sense of what God is like? When describing God: don’t think small.
When it snows - if we get snow this winter - just watch how much comes down.
The next time you go to Ocean City or Rehoboth - or you’re out in the bay - just pause and sense all the water there is - fullness - and it goes all around the world and then some. Water takes up more than 75 percent of the globe. That’s why this planet has life.
If you’ve been to Niagara Falls - just close your eyes and return there in your imagination - and listen to the ongoing flow - the non-stop flow.
If you’re out on a clear night, stop to look up. Glance at the stars in the vast sky. Notice the abundance of stars, the abundance of black night, the abundance of distance. If we know anything about God, we know there’s more - more out there. The universe is 5 to 10 billion years old. That’s our primitive guess as of now. Imagine what’s going to come - in billions of years to come. Humans on this planet have been around for only a short time compared to the age of the earth. There’s an abundance of time to come. When I hear people predict endings - I smile. We’re limited in our thinking and our seeing beyond yourselves - but God isn’t. God is abundance.
As I was thinking about this last night, as I was thinking of abundance - as in abundance of redemption - a memory of seeing a Tomato Throwing Celebration in Spain that was on TV came to mind. I went to Google and checked it. I found out that there are various tomato throwing celebrations all around the world. The granddaddy of them is in Buhan, Spain. It started in 1945 when some young men grabbed some tomatoes from a vegetable stand in a brawl in the town’s main square. The following year the young people repeated the moment with another tomato fight - on the 3rd Wednesday of August - this time with tomatoes they brought from home. The police tried to stop them. By 1950 the town allowed the fight. However, when things got out of hand, some young people were imprisoned, the residents of Bunoh forced the police to release the kids. The tradition continued. It was banned. It continued. It was banned. It increased and now it’s an annual event - when 150,000 tomatoes, 90,000 pounds, are thrown for about an hour.
It’s an amazing site - abundance of tomatoes and tomato juice flowing through the streets - and all is abundantly red. Check it out!
Now that’s abundance! Now that's a party! Now that's a celebration!
How about seeing God as a God who gives a crop of 100 million tomatoes every year -as well as oranges, apples, grapes and wheat that becomes flour that becomes bread.
How about seeing our God who gave at a Last Supper bread and wine - his body and blood - and the chalice and the plate - the bread and the wine - his love and his presence - as gifts - have never stopped flowing.
Surprise we’re at that wedding feast again today. It continues ....
We are made in the image and likeness of God. So if God is a God of Abundance, am I abundant when it comes to love and forgiveness and giving?