Monday, January 18, 2016

Building Relationships, Community

Wedding at Cana
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, different forms of service, different workings but the same God who produces all of them, in everyone. To each the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, mighty deeds, etc. These gifts are meant for the common good, for building up the community.

In the Gospel according to John, the author begins the so-called Book of Signs: 7 signs that Jesus works which reveal His true identity.  He is one with God.  In fact, He is God. 

The first sign is in the town of Cana in the region of Galilee. Now there are different levels of meaning in this story.

On one level, Jesus, his mother and the disciples have simply been invited to a local wedding. Mary, in some ways, could pass for a wedding planner. And there’s an embarrassing shortage of wine.

On another level, Mary appears as our mediator, interceding with her Son on our behalf.

On a third level, the water made wine symbolizes the breaking in of the kingdom of God, the symbolic wedding banquet at the end time.

And on a fourth level, this is one of seven signs in which the author points to Jesus as "the revelation” of God to us.

In light of the wedding at Cana, let’s reflect briefly upon relationships, especially in the sacrament of marriage.

Often people look for the "perfect this" or the "perfect that" and forget that life is not perfect. Often we have to “muddle through” and simply do the best we can.

Marriage can be described in three stages: the honeymoon; disillusionment (e.g., he or she is not exactly as I initially thought); and thirdly, the partnership when they become best friends. Their friendship is indeed a covenant where they live for each other, live for God and live for others. And that is true love.

True love can only emerge if we forgive, work out compromises, disagree without being disagreeable, compliment each other, look for the good in others, clarify our core values, accept differences (our way isn’t the only way), seek a balance between work, family and personal time. Communicate often. And distinguish between behavior and negative judgments: E.g, you’re late (behavior) versus you’re the most inconsiderate person I know (negative judgment). Maybe there was an accident on the road, etc. Address behavior and avoid negative judgments about behavior.

Like most things in life, we have to work at good relationships. Commitment, sticking together through tough times, builds confidence that times will change and we’ll re-emerge stronger.

Above all, let us make room for God in our relationships.

Considering the wedding of Cana, and also the different kinds of spiritual gifts we are given, let’s reflect upon relationship. Couples especially might ask: how can I keep that “original glow” alive? How can we cherish and support and replenish each other? Let’s find and foster the gifts and the good within each of us to build relationships, community.

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