Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, John 2:1-11
Every day water and matter and light come
together and become food.
Every day we take that food into our
bodies and it becomes energy. It becomes
thought and language and action.
Every day we turn fabric into clothes and
trees into buildings and sounds into songs.
Every day morning becomes afternoon and
afternoon becomes evening.
And this is all miracle. This is all the work of God.
Christ is always turning water into wine and
matter into energy and energy into matter and has been since the Big Bang,
since the creation of the world, right down to this very moment. We are the universe come to consciousness of
itself, through Him and with Him, and every thought we have and every action we
take are the newest things to come into being since the beginning of time.
It takes an entire universe to make an
apple pie, Carl Sagan says. Or as a
blurb I saw put it, on the cover of Michael Dowd’s Thank God for Evolution: “it
took the universe 13.7 billion years to produce this amazing book.”
And it did, of course,
because it takes 13.7 billion years to produce every book and every object and
everything we ever do or feel, and in every atom of it, every particle, the
Spirit is at work, continuing to create the world. “The Spirit produces all of these,” Paul says
in the first letter to the Corinthians, “distributing them individually to each
person as he wishes.”
“A thought,” says Teilhard de Chardin, “a
material improvement, a harmony, a unique nuance of human love, the enchanting
complexity of a smile or a glance, all these new beauties that appear for the
first time, in me or around me, on the human face of the earth—the spiritual
success of the universe is bound up with the release of every possible energy
I know we all feel small and
insignificant. I know we all feel
But what could be more ordinary than a
wedding feast? What could be more
ordinary than sitting together and drinking wine? Most of the people at that wedding in Cana don’t
know that a miracle has occurred at all.
But it has. In some profound and invisible way Jesus has
transformed their lives, and this is always going on, this is always happening,
and it happens through us, or can.
The other day I saw a man go up to another
man and pay him a compliment, he put his hand on the man’s shoulder and spoke a
kind word to him, and I saw the man’s face light up, transform, and I felt the
air in that room change, I felt some increase occur inside of all of us.
Just a look. A gesture.
“Any increase that I can bring upon myself
or upon things,” says Chardin, “is translated into some increase in my power to
love and some progress in God’s blessed hold on the universe. With every creative thought or action, a
little more health is being spread in the human mass, and in consequence, a
little more liberty to act, to think, and to love.”
This can work the other way, too, of
course. We can turn wine into water,
through our anger or cruelty or selfishness or neglect. But whenever we pray, whenever we think in
reasoned ways, whenever we make something real and good, whenever we touch
someone or help someone, it’s as if we contribute to some vast and invisible
ecology, some vast and invisible organism, in ways we can never really
understand, and slowly, without our even knowing it, a land that was “desolate,”
in the words of Isaiah, a land that was “forsaken,” becomes a “delight,”
becomes espoused, beloved.
“We serve to complete the work of
creation,” Chardin says, “even by the humblest work of our hands.”
So if like me you sometimes feel that no
one knows or cares what you’re doing, think of this: that God knows and God cares--and your family
and your friends--and what could be a better or more important audience than
Or if like me you fear growing older, if like
me you fear death, if like me you fear things changing in your life, think of
age and of change as water becoming wine.
And there’s another consequence of
thinking in these ways, another effect, because to believe this is to believe,
too, that Christ is present not just in us but in other people. It’s to believe that other people are loved
by God, just as we are. Other people are
filled with the Spirit, in their own particular ways.
are no less than they are, but also no greater.
How would all our lives change if we kept
this in mind—even when someone hurts us or disappoints us or makes us
angry? How would the world be
transformed if we all acted on the assumption that everyone we see is beloved—however
blocked or distorted their light might be?
We each have our own small part to play. That’s all.
But that’s everything.
“Next to the Blessed Sacrament,” says C.S.
Lewis, “your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses, for in
him also Christ, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly
Of course the bread and the wine become
the body and blood. On some deep level everything
does and always has done, and so do we. In
the Eucharist we become the Eucharist, or can, we become what we receive, every
one of us here, you no less than me, and if we believe this and if we act on
this, everything changes, in us and around us.
This is of infinite importance. On this transformation within us—on this conversion--everything
in the universe depends.