Last week it was mentioned that Luke’s version of the Gospel has many indications of the hospitality our Christian God offers to his people. This Sunday the

OLD TESTAMENT READING [ISAIAH 62: 1 – 5] provides a veritable clarion call of divine hospitality. “I will not keep silent … I will not rest … you shall be called … the Lord will give …. not forsaken … no more desolate … the Lord delights in you … so shall your God rejoice over you.”

Most ordinary folk feel a need to return hospitality received. The immediate challenge facing us is simple – how hospitable are we to our living, loving and hospitable God? Do I really

REJOICE in him and my faith? Over the years hundreds (if not thousands) of people have spoken to me about the problem of distractions in prayer or at Mass. A real part of the solution is to constantly remind ourselves that in prayer and at Mass we are offering our hospitality to God-in-Christ. Are our times at prayer and Mass seen as an opportunity to offer the Lord our hospitality in return for his?

The times we give back to the Father and Jesus must be given freely and willingly – not grudgingly, half-heartedly and disinterestedly.

{read again the phrases from Isaiah that appear above}. Why do we so often ‘measure’ the time given to the Lord? Is the hospitality we give to friends not given freely and happily? We set time aside, make suitable preparations, welcome them into our living, and often press them to stay a little longer … we look to their needs not our own. Do we ‘fit’ our Sunday Eucharist into our personal and recreational schedule or do we build, as a priority, the schedule around our Eucharist? If this is not the case then we should not be surprised at our distractions. In other words, does the time given to God enable us to “sing to the Lord, bless his name …. give (him) glory …. (and say) the Lord is King?” {see today’s PSALM [96 or 95]}

It is important to notice that

TODAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN 2: 1 – 11] provides us with a clear indication of Jesus both receiving AND RETURNING hospitality. He was not in a hurry to ‘get away’ because he was still present when the guests had drunk freely and the bar was running dry. I use this phrase deliberately because I have, for many years, retained a book in my library – When The Wells Run Dry – which is a classic in dealing with those times and periods in our living when everything is desolate and the Lord seems to be far away and somewhat disinterested in our difficulties. If we offer him genuine hospitality and take a break from being hospitable only to ourselves and the immediate problems we will discover that he has not departed ‘our party’.

He is still there with us and even if he gives the

appearance of indifference – “O woman, what is that to you or to me?” – he IS interested and he will respond. “There were six jars standing there … each holding twenty or thirty gallons.” This represents a great deal of wine-to-be and it will become the best of vintages – “you have kept the best wine until now.” The Lord’s response to us will be more than generous and, in fact, overwhelming.

There is, however, a foundation of our hospitality to be made clear –

“do whatever he tells you.” Jesus returned hospitality in the face of that hospitalitythe hospitality of allowing, inviting, him, into the situation. We do this by actually DOINGwhatever he tells us. Our Wells will start filling up again. The chief steward, the Gospel reading told us, only had to “taste it.” He did not have to make himself inebriated. A taste was sufficient for him to know that something was really beginning to happen.

There are two further aspects to consider.

The servants not only did what was asked of them but did it with enthusiasm“they filled them to the brim.” Then, we have to become our own ‘tasters’. There should be no reluctance or hesitation to take a sip, have a taste of what HE offers. Too much should not be drunk, too quickly or too soon! The Well may dry up again!

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