Thursday, January 14, 2016

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

A Word Not Well Understood

There is a word in our Gospel reading today which we do not well understand. If we really understood it this word would change our life for the better in a way most of us have not even imagined is possible.

We use this word when we say our vocal prayers. It is a kind of marker when we say the Rosary. It tells us the 10 Hail Marys have been recited already. During our Morning and Evening Prayers if we use the Liturgy of the Hours this word tells us that the Psalm or a portion of it has ended. We sing it in the Mass after our confession of guilt and asking for God's mercy. We also sing again or recite it after the prayer following the Our Father in the Mass. We even use it as a name. Many women have this word as their name. The word is "glory" or "gloria".

In the Gospel today John the Evangelist ends the story of the miracle of water turned into wine by saying, "Thus, did he (Jesus) reveal his glory and his disciples believed in him."

Today let us ponder on the glory of Jesus which he revealed by turning the water into wine.

The Greek word in the original gospel which is translated as "glory" is "doxa." Originally in the Greek language doxa means expectation or judgment or opinion. Then it meant good opinion which extended to reputation, praise, honor and our English word glory. In the Greek Old Testament which is also called Septuagint doxa has come to mean visible brightness, splendor, glory.

John the Evangelist is fond of this word. In the beginning of his gospel he tells us, "We have seen his glory, the glory of an only son coming from the Father" (1:14). In the prayer of Jesus found in John, chapter 17, Jesus utters this word 10 times. He asks his father God to give him glory so that he in turn may give glory to his father. Then he affirms that he has given glory to his father. In verse 4 and 5 Jesus says, "I have given you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Do you now, Father, give me glory at your side, a glory I had with you before the world began." Then praying for his disciples Jesus says, "I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one" (v. 22).

In the book of Revelation which John also wrote it is written "The city (new Jerusalem) had no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God gave it light" (21:23).

This glory then is with God, with Jesus, and Jesus gave it to us. How did Jesus give glory to us? Jesus glorified us by his life, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven. By these mysteries of his life he made us like himself by giving us himself as our life.

One of the favorite themes of Blessed Columba Marmion was Christ our life. And he wrote a book with this title Christ Our Life. Because Jesus is our life we are filled with the glory of God. Most of us do not realize this.

Jesus has glorified us. By his passion and death he took away our sins. By his resurrection he gave us a completely new life. By his ascension he put us in the heavens as Paul the apostle affirms, "Both with and in Christ Jesus he raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens" (Ephesians 2:6).

Our Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches quoting St. Thomas Aquinas 'The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.' (460) Jesus has given us a share in his divinity so that we are truly like him, divine. This is our glory that we have been made into the image of God himself, thanks to the power and love of Jesus. This is what he meant when he said that he has given his glory to his disciples.

C. S. Lewis was an Anglican lay theologian, a famous writer. He wrote in his book Mere Christianity, "If we let Him (Jesus)--for we can prevent Him, if we choose--He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though of course on a smaller scale) his own boundless power and delight and goodness."  

This is our glory, the nature of God within us so that we look like God himself, made real and actual by the Spirit of Jesus in our life.

When we say therefore Glory be to God, we are actually saying if we understood this word, "May our life shine with the splendor and beauty and brightness of God so that human beings and other creatures around us wonder and praise God for what God has done in our lives."

Let us bow down our heads to pray.

O glorious Jesus, you have made us glorious like yourself by giving us your glory as you said in your prayer. Make us aware that when we say glory to God it is the beauty, the splendor and the brightness of God in us which glorify you. Thank you for this gift of glory. Amen.

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