Second Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: January 20, 2019
Do we Catholics pray to Mary? Why do we pray to Mary? Some Christian groups criticize us for this Marian devotion. Well, this story of the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana from John’s Gospel indicates that already in the early Christian community, there was a practice of going to Mary as an intercessor.
In this story when there is no wine left at the wedding feast, it is the mother of Jesus who turns to Jesus and asks him to do something about this. You could say that Mary is interceding with her son on behalf of these people. So, when we pray to Mary to ask her to intercede to Jesus on our behalf, we are doing something that is connected with the practice of the very early New Testament Church.
As a priest, people come to me with many different requests. But, probably the biggest request is people asking me to pray for them. They are asking me to intercede on their behalf. I take this prayer of intercession very seriously. To pray for you the members of this parish is something I do every day. I know that it is also something most of you do on behalf of your children, your grandchildren, your students, your friends.
Prayer of intercession for others is a sign of love and connection. In fact, I know many, including myself, have a card on which they list those they want to pray for each day. You might want to create such an intercession list and keep it in your prayer book or bible.
Of course, Mary as the mother of Jesus is perhaps the greatest intercessor we can turn to when we have a need. To ask Mary to intercede for us with her Son. Mary simply says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” What better advice to guide us in our lives, to do whatever Jesus tells us. A good examination of conscience is to ask myself, what is Jesus telling me to do right now in my life?
When we follow the direction of Jesus then even the most ordinary thing can become special. Like water becoming wine. An ordinary parish can become something life giving. St. Paul in chapter 12 of the letter to the Corinthians offers that great vision of the Christian community, of the church. He speaks of a variety of gifts and services, all rooted in the same Spirit, all for the common good. This is what a Catholic parish is called to be.
In our parish I see that variety of gifts bringing life. Parents caring for their children and families with dedication. Single parents caring for their children often with great challenges. Grandparents supporting their grandchildren, often being the connection for them to the faith. Many young people in our parish who are striving to live the faith, to stay close to Jesus, even when there is little support in our society. What courage that takes.
Also, many seniors who have lived their faith for many years but continue to serve in the parish with great dedication. There are also many shut ins who no longer are able to be here with us on Sunday, but continue to pray for the church. Their prayer of intercession is also important.
I have met many new parishioners recently, we welcome you as you bring your gifts. All of these different gifts and services are important.
This is the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian unity. A time for us to pray for Christian unity among all Christians whom we see as brothers and sisters in Christ. The prayer of intercession is a gift and service that each one of us can offer to the church. If you are wondering what gift you can bring to this parish, I would recommend that you begin by offering a prayer for this parish each day.
We Catholics pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus, to intercede for us as we already saw was a practice in the New Testament. It should encourage us to also intercede for others, to pray to Jesus on their behalf.
The Church is a body of many people who all bring theirs gifts and services for the common good. What gifts and services do you bring? One gift that each of us can offer is the prayer of intercession. Pray for the Church, pray for Christian unity, pray for our parish.