Project Description

2CIsaiah 62:1-5 / 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 / John 2:1-11

Patrick Martin is an amazing man
who has lived an amazing life.

Patrick was born and raised in Maine.

He was number 17 out of 22 children.

And when he was young boy—
he got sick—
really sick.

He was taken to the hospital on July 20, 1953.

They told his family there was no hope.

“If he doesn’t die today,
he will die tonight,”
the doctors told his parents.

The diagnosis:
meningitis.

His parents prayed to God
to spare their child.

Five months later he was
discharged from the hospital.

“Your son is blind and crippled,”
the doctors told them.

“He’ll never walk again,
and he can’t see two inches in front of his nose.
What kind of life will he have?
He’ll be nothing but a vegetable.
Wouldn’t it be better that he had died?”

“My parents didn’t think so,” Patrick Martin said.

The doctors predicted that he
would never sit in a chair or stand.

But his siblings taught their little brother to walk.

His brothers and sisters held him up as
they passed him down the hallway—
over and over again—
eventually he learned to walk.

Patrick miraculously gained some vision—
not much—
but some.

So instead of going to a school for the blind—
he re-enrolled in public school.

“I went through all of my schooling
competing with my friends,” Patrick said.

“I read my books one single letter at a time.
Instead of 180-degree span of vision,
I had two or three degrees of central focus — tunnel vision.”

Since he didn’t read fast enough,
he started memorizing as he read.

The nuns would come every Saturday morning
to his parish to teach the children.

In the fifth grade he memorized the
“Baltimore Catechism” from cover to cover.

At the end of the school year,
they had a catechism contest similar to a spelling bee.

“I beat everybody,” Patrick said.

“How come you’re not an altar server?”
asked his parish priest.

“My blindness,” he answered.

“If you can memorize the entire ‘Catechism,’
you can be an altar server,” the priest said.

“I don’t think he knew the hope he opened up in me,” Patrick said.

“Just maybe I can share God’s Word with the people,
even with my blindness.”

And with God’s grace—
and a lot of hard work,
Patrick Martin moved from alar server—to priest.

He is presently a priest for the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut.

And what does Fr. Patrick Martin do?

For over 30 years he has
traveled all over the
world giving parish missions.

Some of our parishioners were
traveling and heard Fr. Martin preach—
And they brought me a book of his to read.

And in this book,
Fr. Martin tells the story of
being on a 30-day Ignatian retreat in
Ontario, Canada on his 10th anniversary of
his priesthood ordination and
the 35th year anniversary of him being blind.

He went for his daily hour of prayer,
and ended up sitting up on a
pile of dirt to do his meditation.

After a long time of silence in prayer,
he heard that familiar inner
voice of God say to him, “carve something.”

He laughed,
“Me carve something?
Have you forgotten that I’m blind?”

“Do as you’re told,” the voice shot back.

So, he picked up a wad of the clay dirt
he was sitting on and
began to mold a bird out the clay.

He was doing pretty well until,
he pressed too hard on his bird’s neck
and the bird’s head fell off.

He got irritated and
threw his worthless and
broken clay sculpture away.

And then, he heard that inner voice again—
He heard the God of the Universe say,

“Why did you throw it away just because it got broken.
I don’t throw things away just because they’re broken.
I make them into something new!!!”

“I make them into something new!!!”

Fr. Martin wept as he set
on his muddy prayer perch.

He realized that those words that God had spoken to him:
“I don’t throw things away just because they’re broken.
I make them into something new!!!” . . .

Was the theme of his whole life—
and it became the theme of his entire ministry.

“I don’t throw things away just because they’re broken.
I make them into something new!!!”

Something New!!!!

And isn’t that—
isn’t that my Brothers and Sisters in Christ—
the very theme of Jesus’
first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana!!!

Something New!!!

On a superficial level,
this first miracle of Jesus
seems so out of sync with his other ones.

In his other miracles—
He exorcises demons and heals and raises the dead—
He calms the chaos of the storms at sea—
He multiplies a few loaves of bread and
and feeds a hungry humanity.

But here, in his first miracle—
He turns water into wine just so
a wedding party can continue—
no body’s dying of thirst at this wedding—
they just ran out of wine.

Seems a little trite doesn’t it.

I’ve heard this miracle preached that God’s
wants our life to just one big party—
to eat and drink and be merry.

Well, I think it goes a little deeper than that.

I’ve also heard this miracle preached
Jesus wanted to protect this
young couple from such embarrassment.

Well, I think it goes deeper than that!!!

With these rather superficial interpretations,
Jesus is nothing more than the ultimate wedding planner.

He’s like more the perfect social chair of a fraternity.

No, it’s deeper than that—
Much deeper.

First, it is no coincidence that Jesus’
first miracle takes place at wedding.

All through the scriptures—
including our first reading from
the Prophet Isaiah—
God reveals that He is like a bridegroom—
and God’s people are like the bride—

Forever connected—
God forever grafted to us.
Jesus performs his very first miracle
at a wedding to remind us of this—
He is the bridegroom—
His Church is the Bride.

Revealing that He—
God incarnate will never leave us—
even if we try to divorce ourselves from him.

Even if we run off with someone else—
He’s will always try to wins us back.

And the water into wine.

This water was going to be used
in Jewish purification rituals.

But Jesus makes it into something new—
Something better—
Something more powerful—
Something more fulfilling.

Isn’t that one of the main messages of
Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount.

He doesn’t discard the law—
He goes deeper—
Jesus fulfills the law—
Making it new!!!

And when Jesus turns the water into wine—
it’s not just any old wine—
It’s the best.

Whatever is inferior—
Whatever is broken—
Jesus can transform them into something new.

Are there things broken in your lifes?

There certainly are in mine.

Sometimes I am not the person that I want to be—
I am not the person God wants me to be.

Some sin?

Some attitude?

Selfishness maybe.

Pride maybe.

Anger maybe.

Resentment maybe.

Some broken relationship?

With another person?

With God?

Whatever brokenness we may have—
Jesus—
Can transform it—
Jesus makes all thing new—
Makes all things better.

Either now—
Or in the wedding feast that will be eternal life.

That’s what Jesus does—
The wedding feast of Cana reveals this promise.

Can’t you see the blind old priest getting
irritated and throwing his deformed clay bird away—

“Why did you throw it away just because it got broken.
I don’t throw things away just because they’re broken.
I make them into something new!!!”

And that makes me happy!!!.

Stay close to Jesus.

Holy Spirit 01/19-20/2019