From the Vine ~ Jesus Asks Only For What We Have
“Fill six stone jars with water.”
John 2: 6-11
I remember the first time I was introduced to the concept of the Christian Baptismal identity: Priest, Prophet and King. “That’s just not me,” I thought. And the concept of being a co-redeemer with Christ? I mean – really – isn’t that sort of blasphemous? Anyway, surely I must be the least qualified and not even close to being considered worthy. What good would my offering be, even if I could offer something? My life is small, confined. I interact with only a handful of people and the topic of religion is practically avoided.
When I finally allowed myself to entertain the possibility that I am called to take part in the salvation of mankind, I began a sort of argument with God.
“All I have to offer You is my sinfulness,” I whined to the Lord, trying to pray. I closed my eyes, frowning. When I did, I had a quick image of myself holding a heavy, jagged rock, standing before Jesus. As I considered this strange picture it seemed to come alive in my mind – a little, animated day dream. Jesus was reaching out for the rock. I backed away
“No, You can’t have this; You are sinless! This belongs to me,” I said, backing up until I could go no farther.
“I came to take away sin,” Jesus said, smiling as he tugged the heavy rock out of my arms.
A frightening feeling of emptiness came over me when that rock was taken away. “That’s all I have to give that is really mine,” I said to myself. Tears rolled down my face.
“Yes,” He said softly, “And now it is Mine.”
I opened my eyes and realized that, up until that moment, I had professed that Jesus came to take away my sins, but I had not fully understood or believed it. I realized too that He asks only for what we have – only things as simple and common as water poured into stone jars. When we do what He asks, and give it to Him, He does wonderful things. He produces wine – the Precious Blood of Salvation! Yes, there is a drop in that chalice which comes from me.
The Scriptures from today’s Mass speak of a prophet who had a similar struggle and of the redemption which comes from wine turned into Precious Blood. They speak of being sent out, prepared or not, into the world. The prophets never just spoke their prophetic word in the Scriptures, they lived it. They carried it out in their bodies. God asked them to do very simple things: dig through walls, bury articles of clothing and break earthen jars – almost always in the midst of jeering critics. Just so we are often called to do the inadequate, the ridiculous – to offer water to people who need wine. Yet in these simple tasks, we fulfill our Baptismal identity as Prophet, our meager actions magnifying the glory of God.
I wonder about the poor servant we read about in the account of the Wedding Feast of Cana. He brought only a ladle of water to the steward who was expecting wine. Was he shaking and frightened to make such an offering, as I myself was afraid to hand to Jesus the only thing I could?
Lord Jesus, today I offer to You the water of my existence. Make of it the Wine of the New Covenant!
Blogger’s note: This is the first of a three part posting on the Baptismal identity of Christians: Priest, Prophet and King. The readings from the Mass of each of these days lend themselves to this focus. Today’s post pondered our prophetic identity. On October 25th, we’ll take a look at our Priestly identity and On December 27, we’ll examine our Kingly identity.
She tells us:
Life with the Lord is always an adventure!
I believe that we live in one of the most exciting times in salvation history and that God is revealing more and more of His love through the actions of His people. With this in mind, I write and blog on the universal call to redemptive suffering, to which I feel people my age (baby boomers) are very specifically called and qualified. You’ll catch that drift in almost everything I write.
I see such a beautiful pattern developing today, especially apparent against the backdrop of upheaval and uncertainty. Story after story emerges describing remarkable acts of selfless love, courageous forgiveness and generosity of spirit – a willingness to lay down one’s life for another. I am glad to be in the mix – for the adventure, I have discovered, has only just begun. God bless!
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