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“Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.’ So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him” (John 2:6-11).
The hosts of a wedding celebration that ran out of wine would have been embarrassed in front of their families and friends. Jesus averted disaster for this newlywed couple and their families by changing the water into wine.
This passage gives us insight into who Jesus is, and who we are as members of the body of Christ. Just as Jesus turned water into wine, we, as Christians, are led from water (through our baptism) to wine (our participation in the Eucharist). We live our faith, initiated in baptism and renewed by our sharing of Christ’s body and blood.
Jesus’ action at the wedding in Cana, as well as the symbolism of changing water into wine, remind us that God’s love and care permeate our entire existence. No concern of ours is unknown to God, for God truly cares for us deeply and personally.
Like Jesus, we can be witnesses to the love of God for others when we, nourished by the sharing in the water turned into wine at Cana, use our spiritual gifts to comfort someone else.
Who are you being called to attend to today? How can you meet their needs and be Christ to them?

Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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fog-524071_1280The Hebrew word hesed is often translated as “mercy.” But “mercy” as commonly understood today does not do justice to the richness and depth of meaning of hesed.
A fuller translation of hesed would encompass concepts such as trustworthy, loving, powerful, steadfast, loyal. This is a fuller sense of God’s loving power and action, which extends beyond forgiveness alone.
The author of Psalm 136, which repeats “his mercy endures forever” 26 times, reflects on the glory of God and marvels at how he constructed the heavens and cast the stars into the sky. But more than anything else, the psalmist is awestruck by God’s mercy.
God’s enduring mercy is beyond our understanding. Maybe this is why the word appears so many times in the Hebrew Scriptures as well as in the New Testament.
The ancient Levite song leader would sing the first half of each verse of Psalm 136 and the congregation would sing the refrain. This reminded the congregation—just as we need to be reminded today—that all we are, all we have, and all we do depends on God’s mercy, trustworthiness, steadfastness, loving kindness, and loyalty.
Our prayer today:

Lord, help me always remember
that although you are the only one I have reason to fear,
you have chosen through your mercy
to be someone I never need to fear.

Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at

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“After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:21-22).
In baptism, we, too, are proclaimed to be God’s beloved. We, too, are filled with the Holy Spirit and chosen to live out the same mission as Jesus did. And in baptism, we are freed from sin. Jesus’ baptism described in this Gospel passage is a window to our own destiny, to our own call to live in Christ. Jesus’ baptism revealed that God loved him and had chosen him. Our baptism reveals that we are also loved and chosen by God and belong to his body, the church.
Jesus’ mission was to go into the world and preach that God’s love is for all people. Ours is the same.
How do we preach? We preach by our words and our actions, just as Jesus did. We evangelize by having a loving attitude towards those around us and by being truly present and attentive to the people in our lives. We use our talents to help others and our voices to speak for those who are voiceless. When we put flesh to the works of mercy, we, too, are truly the sons and daughters on whom God’s favor rests.
What does your baptism mean to you? In what ways have you been called to witness the love of God?
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available in the RENEW International online store.

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CrossEarly Christians came to understand that the name of Jesus had great power, and that the recitation of his name was itself a form of prayer.
Heeding St. Paul’s guidance to pray without ceasing (Thessalonians 5:17), their ancient, short prayer became known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
In the Eastern churches especially, this prayer became most popular. It is silently recited over and over throughout the waking hours, usually in rhythm with breathing. This is why it is also known as the “prayer of the heart.”
It is a prayer rich in theological and spiritual meaning.
The words form the essence of the Christian faith in echoing Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16).
This prayer also emulates the words of the repentant publican whom Jesus describes in Luke’s Gospel: “Have mercy on me a sinner” (18:13).
The Church sets aside the first month of the year to honor of the holy name of Jesus—and to remind us of the power of Christ’s name and to encourage us to pray in his name. Why not make a New Year’s resolution for 2016 to always have the Jesus Prayer on our lips and in our hearts?
Our prayer today:

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.

Peter W. Yaremko, a former journalist, is the owner of Executive Media, Inc. and is a specialist in executive communications. He attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts and blogs at

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Mary“The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them”
(Luke 2:16-20).
Mary gives birth in a barn or stable and the shepherds come to see her Child. They leave singing praises. Mary ponders and reflects and treasures all these things that happen to her. She is our model in so many ways. Here, Mary is the first follower of Jesus, the first disciple. And the example she sets, the model she gives through her
actions, is that a follower of Jesus takes time to reflect on life’s events. A true disciple believes that there is meaning and mystery in daily life. A Christian takes time to pray quietly and sit at the feet of his or her Master to be still and hear God’s lessons that present themselves.
What can I learn from this? What is this teaching me? What is God’s message? These are questions we can ask each day as we meditate on the happenings of our seemingly ordinary life. There is always another dimension in which we live. The spiritual is real, but hidden.
And the way to uncover it is simply to ponder, as did Mary, and ask God to help us see with eyes of faith the important meaning, message, and challenge that we might otherwise miss. This is the role of a disciple as Mary, the first disciple, shows us. We, too, must ponder, reflect, and treasure the gifts of each day that God gives us.
How do I take time to listen in my heart each day, as Mary does?
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store

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