Two years later


We saved some wine from our wedding two years ago because so much was left over. We bring some out every anniversary, as a sign of the blessing it is to be married. Whoever shares it with us agrees: it is the best wine they ever tasted.

People drank freely on our wedding day. We didn’t know we ran out until our chief steward brought the new wine over. I didn’t really know Jesus that well either. Jesus’ dad and my dad were friends, because they were both carpenters. It takes about six hours to walk from Nazareth to Cana and Joseph would sometimes spend the night at our home. Joseph had passed away by the time Judith and I were betrothed. Mary gave many of Joseph’s tools to my father after Joseph’s passing. She gave us his favourite hammer as a wedding gift. I could only assume that Jesus was not planning to continue in his father’s profession.

Marriage is more difficult than I ever dreamed it would be. God is blessing our marriage, but the heartaches are many. My wife miscarried three times before we welcomed our son into the world. I feared I would lose her after his birth because she was so ill. Fortunately, our wedding anniversary was imminent, and we brought out the wine for our annual toast. Despite her weakness, Judith welcomed our ritual. We told stories from our wedding day. As we emptied our glasses, Judith looked brighter and stronger. Within days she was back to her normal self. Was there something special about that wine? I can’t say. But there was certainly something special about Jesus, and that was obvious based on the miracle at our wedding feast.

He stopped by on our anniversary the first year we were married along with Philip and Nathaniel. He spent a night with us before moving on. His ministry is causing quite a stir throughout the area. I was glad of the opportunity to offer hospitality. I showed him his dad’s hammer, still a valued part of our workshop, and he smiled with great love. While he was with us, he spoke about forgiveness and how critical it is not only in marriage but also in society at large. For a man who’s never been married, he sure understands the effort a good marriage demands. I told him that starting fresh and letting go are keys to success… I felt valued and heard in his presence. Jesus blessed us before he left and encouraged us to share our love with our family. And to share, of course, the wine.

Loretta Pehanic, The Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Sacramento CA

What happens at a baby’s baptism?

The celebration of the Sacrament has four parts. If outside Mass they follow one after another, if in Mass they are integrated into the liturgy.

1. RECEPTION OF THE CHILD

The priest or deacon goes to the entrance of the church and questions the parents and godparents regarding the child’s name and their responsibilities. Finally celebrant, parents and godparents sign the child on the forehead.

2. CELEBRATION OF GOD’S WORD

Passages from Scripture are read, and the celebrant gives a short homily. Then the prayer of the faithful is said, after which the celebrant invokes the saints. Then there follow the Prayer of Exorcism and Anointing before Baptism. “Set him (her) free from original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her).. We anoint you with the oil of salvation in the name of Christ our Saviour; may he strengthen you with his power…”

3. CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT

At the font, the celebrant now blesses the water to be used, leading to the Renunciation of Sin and Profession of Faith. The celebrant then asks “Is it your will that N. should be baptised in the faith of the Church, which we have all professed with you?” He then baptises the child, saying: “N., I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, as he immerses the child or pours the water over their head. The celebrant anoints the baby on the head with Chrism saying “As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.” The baby is now clothed with a white garment. “You have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself in Christ. See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity.” Someone then lights the child’s candle from the Easter candle, as the celebrant says: “This light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly.” The rite of Ephphatha may follow where the celebrant prays ‘May he soon touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith…”

4. CONCLUSION OF THE RITE

Lastly all move to the altar, where the celebrant leads all in the Lord’s Prayer, followed by a blessing for mother, for father and for all present.

The Apple tree

Many years ago I sang in the choir at St David’s Cathedral. It helped give me a love for music which has stayed with me. Among the Christmas delights we enjoyed was an old poem set to music by Elizabeth Poston. It’s called “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” – a strange title when you first hear it, but one which has lingered in my mind and grows as you reflect on the simple words. Catch it on Youtube, sung by, among others, the choir of King’s College Cambridge in 2009. Relax, reflect, enjoy…

The tree of life my soul hath seen, Laden with fruit and always green: The trees of nature fruitless be Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel By faith I know, but ne’er can tell The glory which I now can see In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought And pleasure dearly I have bought: I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil, Here I will sit and rest awhile: Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive, It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

From “Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs”, compiled by Joshua Smith 1784