Homily for the second Sunday after the Epiphany (Year C) – Holy Water, Holy Wine

Updated: Jan 7

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Good morning bus riders!


I hope everyone who received the email with the link to the lectionary page for today took the time to read the four readings and pondered upon them.


Before, when I was a pewple in an Episcopal church, I would do that. At first it was just the time between being handed a bulletin at the door and the beginning of a service. Then it became me reading them a day or two before, going to the same lectionary page to reference them.


If everyone is like me … and I sure don’t see myself as unique … with preparation, from pondering readings, you go to church on Sunday with some expectations. You want the priest to say something that confirms what you saw, while pondering.


Because I never heard my priest say anything that confirmed what I saw, mostly saying nothing of value, my wife and I began ‘church hopping’ … Episcopal variety. Alas, that always ended with lukewarm sermons … the kind Jesus told John he would spit out in disgust, preferring an ice cold sermon that says, “I don’t believe anything in the Bible is true and here’s why …” or one blistering hot, saying, “You are all going to fry in hell if you don’t do what the Bible says!”


Too often we heard some political message pandered … so as to offend no one and teach nothing that might run off the rich sinners in the crowd.


So, since that never happened, I stand here now. This is the only place where I can hear what God shows me is being told in Scripture. My confirmation comes from a higher source than an Episcopal priest; and, I feel strongly that higher messages need to be publicly shared.


In that regard, I now expect you guys to have done some homework prior, so you have some expectations of what I am going to say.


A true “church” is when two or more souls that have been reborn as Jesus get together. That can only be about three times a year (at the festivals), because when true Christians get together they all want to preach the Gospel. That means they all say, “I loved what you said about [this], but let me add what I was shown to that.”


Then, a “church” service can last a week, with parting such sweet sorrow.


That said, I hope everyone has brought up the lectionary page on your very smart phones and will be able to check my math as we go along. So, let’s begin!


The four readings set aside for today are marriage related, although that theme is easier to see in some; less so in others. But, it is there.


In Isaiah’s song, it ends with a flurry of verses singing about marriage. That is easy to see; but the initial focus of this song is on “vindication.”


We read, “until her vindication shines out like the dawn” and “the nations shall see your vindication”.


The word “vindication” means: “The action of clearing someone of blame or suspicion;” or, “proof that someone or something is right, reasonable, or justified.”


Now Isaiah began this chapter by singing metaphorically, saying “For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest.” In that, the metaphor is found in “Zion” meaning “A Dry Place” and “Jerusalem” meaning “In Awe Of Peace” or “Teaching Peace.”


Knowing the meaning of what appears to be names, we can now see that Isaiah wrote: “For a dry place’s sake I will not keep silent, and for teaching peace’s sake I will not rest.”


Here, it becomes important to realize that Isaiah is not the one speaking, even though he was the one writing the words down for us to remember. The one speaking through Isaiah is Yahweh.


This means reading the first verse as Yahweh speaking of His commitment to not give up on lost souls … those who are souls in bodies as dry as bones without sinews … those who have yet to be taught the peace of Yahweh’s presence surrounding a soul.


When you realize that, knowing marriage verses are to follow, that becomes Yahweh stating His intention … His designs on lost souls … promising He will not give up on His pursuit of a bride He wants in marriage.


This means “vindication” is relative to that which makes “her” all cold and nervous, playing hard to get.


Isaiah then equated “vindication” to “salvation,” singing: “and her salvation like a burning torch.” Following his saying "her vindication shines like the dawn," both vindication and salvation are enlightening experiences, where darkness has been removed.


The dawning light and the light of a torch blazing brightly mean the presence of Yahweh has come to be one with a soul. That light eliminating a dark past is marriage – a soul in holy union with Yahweh’s Spirit.


This is said when Isaiah sang, “you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of Yahweh will give.”


A bridesmaid takes on the name of her Husband; and, all human beings are supposed to be His brides-to-be … if we want “vindication.”


What might be hard to see, when Isaiah sang about “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of Yahweh, and a royal diadem in the hand of elohayik” is how “a crown of beauty” is the halo of a Saint. The “royal diadem” says the King now controls one’s body of flesh … making it become the kingdom of Jesus.


This appears to be on one's head … at least in European artwork … but the crown and royal diadem are spiritual; so, they really sit on the head of Jesus' soul, reborn in a Saint … which also happens to surround one's real head.


Being “in the hand of elohayik” – where that Hebrew means “you gods of Mine” or “your elohim” – says a divine spiritual possession has made one a "hand of Yahweh." That takes place when the resurrection of the soul of Jesus comes within one’s own soul.


To experience this blessed state of being, one has to do the things that attract Yahweh, so he proposes divine marriage. Once He pops the question, it is then upon each one of us to say, “Yes.”


There is no “vindication” for the sins our souls will be blamed for, when our souls are released for judgment at death. The only proof one can give that says the wrongs of the past have been righted is the soul’s glow, from having taken on the name of Yahweh.


Jesus means “Yahweh Saves,” so “salvation” is the “burning torch” that lights the path to eternal life.


In David’s Psalm 36, the translation we read begins with “Your love, Yahweh, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds.”


That sounds like something from a Harlequin romance novel, where “love” is the bond that unites two as one.


In reality, the Hebrew David wrote sings of “goodness,” rather than love. When we read “heavens,” we need to realize this means a “spiritual existence,” which is the realm of the elohim. Yahweh places the elohim that is His Son Jesus within our souls, one with our flesh, so each Saint becomes Jesus reborn; but no Saints look like the pictures we know of Jesus.


Jesus is there in a Saint, but his presence is hidden by the “clouds” that reflect his spiritual presence.


When verse seven sings, “How priceless is your love, Yahweh your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings,” the word saying “love” is again “goodness.” That is better seen when verse six has sung about “your righteousness.”


Righteousness is from the presence of goodness; and, as Jesus told the young, rich ruler, "Only God is good."


Raise your hands if you are “righteous” and can tell everyone here how they too can come to that state of being.


<Look for all hands lowered, with eyes down.>


This is a state of being that is impossible by souls alone in their flesh. Trying to go it alone means … like in the story Pinocchio … the demon spirits [the bad elohim] come courting us. Before long, they have our souls addicted to worldly delights, which are the things we all do that require “vindication.” Salvation is not possible in a body of dead wood - a soul alone in flesh. Righteousness demands eternal life enter the body.


Please, don't take my analogy and think magic crickets can bring righteousness!


When David sang, “your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings,” think about that. Don't angels have “wings”?


Angels are the good elohim, but Jesus is the elohim created by the hand of Yahweh, designed to be placed into human flesh. It just needs a soul to be merged with.


Being Jesus reborn makes us both righteous and protected by the wings of Yahweh’s Son.


David sang of the transformation we experience, where we each become a tabernacle – a “house” of Yahweh – where Jesus becomes the High Priest serving Yahweh in each of our temples.


Within each "house" is placed a “fountain of life,” which forever pours out living waters. We become sources of this eternal life to those we find in ministry for Yahweh, as His Son reborn.


Those seeking Yahweh will find us, because that “torch of salvation” is the beacon we project outward. The light of truth is what a discerning Christian wants to hear in a sermon from a priest. Yahweh shines that light through His Saints, for the purpose of letting the lost souls be found.


It is all dependent on the divine marriage of souls to Yahweh’s Spirit. David sang of that loving commitment when he wrote, “your favor to those who are true of heart.”


The Hebrew word for “heart” means the “inner self.” In that, a “self” is a soul.


Now, in the reading from Paul’s first letter to the true Christians of Corinth, the marriage theme is a little hard to see. You have to look closely. You have to read slowly and ponder that written.


It does not help when the translation into English is not conducive to discerning the truth. This is where the link to the BibleHub Interlinear is the best tool to use.


Still, with all the mistranslation and poor paraphrases, it is easy to see that these eleven verses are Paul talking about the gifts of the Spirit of Yahweh.


Does everyone agree with that assessment?


<Look for nodding heads.>


Good! Well, since this is the after the Epiphany time period, with Advent having been a reflection of our divine pregnancy and Christmas having been our giving birth to Jesus within our individual souls, all of this comes about because of each soul having married Yahweh, via His Spirit.


If you have ever married off a daughter, then you know that the tradition is the parents of the bride pays for the celebration party. We read of one of those in John’s Gospel selection for today.


The reason parents celebrate is they get to give a financial burden away! Some other family has taken up the responsibility of paying all the bills for one’s daughter.


This means that a Husband taking on all that responsibility is a gift to the bride AND the family of the bride. That gift not only includes rings – the halo of engagement and crown of the king taking over leading one to righteousness – but it includes a new name.


This means that these eleven verses taken from Paul’s letter to a group of brides that had married their souls to Yahweh’s Spirit was telling them how each bride gets the same giftsBUT … some get different gifts that come after the Epiphany … the time for realizing: “I am a divinely married soul!”


Now, as to the complexities of a bad English translation, and the time constraints of a bus schedule to put up with, I advise and welcome everyone here to read what I wrote and published on my website, about 1 Corinthians 12.


What needs to be realized now is Paul was reminding other Saints … human beings just like him … his “brothers” in divine marriage … they needed to remember the gifts are always Yahweh’s to give.


Not all wives get the same extra gifts; but that is not for the wife to decide.


The gifts received cannot be seen as some measuring stick about how much God loves one's soul. The only measuring stick is this: All are souls promised eternal life – the best gift possible … ever; and, All souls have given birth to Yahweh’s Son, so all live righteously as Jesus reborn. That is a gifted name to cherish.


The differences that come up are all based on how Jesus sees fit to utilize different powers of Yahweh, based on what seekers have been drawn to a Saint.


It is not something a totally submissive wife complains about. It is just like when Yahweh asked Ezekiel the question, “Mortal, can these dry bones live?”


The answer must always be, “Yahweh, you know.”


Paul was reminding the Corinthians … thus us also … that a soul saved does not try to think for Yahweh; so, no saved soul says, “I think I would use the healing ‘wedge’ on this hole, followed by the prophecy “iron.”


As far as a lesson on marriage, the verses purposefully chosen for reading today need to be seen as saying, “Marriage means total submission of self-ego unto Yahweh. The marriage gift that never stops is eternal salvation. Any gifts that come between marriage and death are Yahweh’s to give, whenever He sees fit.”


In today’s wild societal craziness, where marriage is a word no longer seen as it once was, the illusion of equality blinds many from seeing any possible value in a wife being fully submissive to her husband. Part of why that became bad was men misusing that dominant position.


Marriage, of any kind, is not to be abusive. Dominance and submission demands trust, based on love. The ideal of marriage is then what one lacks, the other then adds. Two become complete together. Marriage is when two merge to become one functional unit.


The function of marriage … which seems to have been lost these days … is its purpose is to have children. Marriage is not meant to be an arrangement where two like to hang out together.


Divine marriage is a higher reflection of human marriage. The essence is the same, when traditional values are remembered. The purpose is not to hang out with God; it is to give birth to His Son.


Souls do not get to pick and choose what Yahweh is going to give, in return for some wild imagination that one’s soul is the best soul ever for Him.


All self-will and every self-ego has to be sacrificed upon the altar of marriage; so, the true symbolism of a crucifix is the death of your own value of self, so Jesus can hang around where you died.


Again, I ask that you read what I wrote about these verses. Then, you can see how the ‘homework assignment’ is to do what I did for three verses to the other eight. It is good practice; and, if still a swinging single soul, Yahweh will see those self-directed acts and be attracted to you. In time, if you keep up the work on your own, He will propose to your soul.


This leads us to the John reading. It is one most Christians know. The title (in most versions of the Bible) is “The Wedding at Cana” or “The Miracle at Cana.”


Raise your hand if you think of this as “Jesus Turns Water into Wine.”


<Look for raised hands.>


The New International Version uses that title.


In John we read, “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee,” so we think of this as Jesus’ first miracle.


In reality, by that time in Jesus’ life … when he was at least thirty years of age … Jesus had done many miracles. This was the first that was witnessed by the disciples of Jesus, who were also invited guests to the wedding at Cana; so, John meant the “first of his signs” in his official ministry.


Remember, when Mary came panicking to Jesus, telling him, “They have no wine,” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”


Raise your hands if you have read the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.


<Look for quizzical faces and no hands raised.>


In that book, which focuses on Jesus the child, between the ages of five and twelve, a boy fell off a roof and died in that fall. Jesus liked the boy; so he said, “He is not dead” and told the boy to get up. The boy did. That was one of many miracles Jesus did when a child.


Keep that story in mind when you do your homework assignment and discern the different gifts of the Spirit. Jesus was born with every possible gift at his disposal. His early years were learning when to use them in front of people and when not to. Mary never said, “Son, do another miracle,” but her telling Jesus, “They are out of wine” was saying the same thing ‘in code.’


Mary knew full well that Jesus was known for his miracles. She certainly wasn't suggesting, "Son, run down to the store and bring back some wine."


What Paul was saying to the Corinthians was, “Jesus uses the gifts of Yahweh as he sees fit. You don’t have to worry about what gifts he uses. If Jesus is reborn in your soul, you will witness what “signs” he does in your body. If Jesus is not reborn in your soul, then you will never witness any miracles done."


In this well-known story, it is incorrect to see the first sign given by Jesus in ministry as ‘changing water into wine.”


Raise your hand if you regularly drink wine.


<Look for raised hands.>


I rarely drink alcoholic beverages, but I have been in package stores before; and, I know wine is not free. Heck, water is not free any more. Still, a bottle of table wine can cost eight to ten dollars (if memory serves me correctly). Multiply that by cases of wine … for a wedding celebration … and we're talking considerable costs.


To have Mary get excited about there being no more wine … not telling Jesus, "Let's go. The party is over because they are out of wine," says Mary was marrying off one of her daughters … one born after Jesus and probably around sixteen. Thus, she could not leave. Running out of wine was a reflection on her failure to prepare better.


Raise your hand if that thought ever came to you.


<Look for maybe one hand raised.>


This is where pondering comes in handy. Still, as to the cost of needing more wine, that means it is possible to put some dollar value on this miracle at Cana.


People can read it and come away thinking, “Wow! Jesus must have turned free well water into a couple hundred dollars’ worth of fine wine!” It makes the miracle seem like wine to get drunk on is that valued.


That is not the miracle, as that never happened.


Years ago, when I was a supervisor for U.P.S., I had a driver that I had to train. During the lunch break, he told me that he had gone to some club and watched a hypnotist do an act. The things he said the hypnotist made people from the audience do was hilarious.

Now, I have only seen hypnotists on television; but from what I’ve seen – if their acts are true and not like an Oral Roberts’ faith healing – a hypnotist could hypnotize someone, suggest to that person, “I am going to give you a glass of water and when you drink it, then the water will taste like the finest wine you have ever drunk.”


If their acts are true, then a hypnotized person would say something much like the chief steward for the wedding at Cana said.


The only thing that would have been consumed is water. The mind convinced the body that water was wine; and, that is the miracle here.


With a caveat!


Jesus did not make any suggestions to anyone nor hypnotize anyone. Jesus did no tricks.


We read, “Jesus said to [the servants], "Fill the [ritual purification] jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward." So they took it.”


Nothing written by John says Jesus had anything to do with touching anything. The servants did everything.


The servant took a sample of the water, from jugs they had filled with well water, and one took a cup or ladle with water to the chief steward. Then we read how John wrote, “this water wine having become.”


That says water dipped from a purification jug was tasted by the steward and he deemed it to be wine. The chief steward then went further, saying it was wine that was better than all the wine served prior.


When the chief steward said, “you have kept the good wine until now” that says the most intoxicating wine was kept until last.


Let’s think about that for a moment.


I want you to draw a comparison to this miracle, from what Paul wrote the Corinthians about the gifts of Yahweh’s Spirit.


<Pause for ten seconds.>


One first needs to see the symbolism of marriage. Jesus is there, when some young woman is being celebrated as having been given away.


Imagine yourself as that woman … that new bride.


The wedding event needs to be seen as metaphor of oneself having married Yahweh. In that scenario, Jesus is invited in.


With Jesus there, one’s soul is then his mother, having given birth to his divine presence within her soul. The daughter-bride becomes the mother. Jesus is then the Son of Yahweh reborn.


Mary then reflects each of us panicking when things go wrong in our lives.


We cry out, “Jesus help us!” … individually.


When Jesus replies to our begging, telling us “My hour has not yet come,” that is like what Paul wrote in First Corinthians: Don’t think you control any special gifts. You don’t. Jesus will do what needs to be done, when the time is right.


When the focus of the soul – Mary – turns to the servants, the servants are symbolic of our bodies of flesh. The soul married to Yahweh tells its flesh, “Do whatever [Jesus] tells you.”


Paul told the same thing to the true Saints in Corinth.


Then, when Jesus tells one’s flesh, “Fill the [ritual purification] jars with water,” this now must be seen as instructions given, in preparation for a Saint to baptize another … a seeker that has arrived.


Last Sunday, we read about Peter and John being sent to Samaria to give some new converts the Spirit. The Samarians were seekers who heard Philip preaching the Gospel. Philip baptized them; but he needed assistance giving them all the Spirit.


The “six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons” are most frequently used by women after their mensuration cycle has ended. That loss of an egg symbolizes the sins of the flesh. The women ‘baptize’ their flesh with cleansing water, poured out from such jugs.


Femininity is the metaphor of souls trapped in bodies of matter; so, all mankind is feminine.


This means Jesus told the body of flesh … his servant, like Philip … a seeker needs to be cleansed of sins; so, fill the purification jugs with well water.


The body of flesh does as told, acting from pure obedience. The soul [Mary] has instructed it to do as Jesus says; so, the body does as commanded by Jesus.


Then, when Jesus tells the body, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward,” the chief steward is metaphor for the seeker … like Philip finding Samaritans wanting to receive the Spirit.


When the body then hands the seeker a cup or ladle of purification water, it is no longer well water. It has receive the gift of Jesus, having been miraculously transformed into the living waters of the eternal Spirit.


When the servant (you in body) lays hands on the chief steward (the seeker) through a transfer that draws from the waters of baptism, the seeker receives not simple water, but the fine wine of salvation.


This means the servants … like Paul reminded the Corinthians … are nothing more than the ones carrying out the commands of Jesus. The gift given comes through the order of Jesus, sent to the Father, carried out by the obedient servant.


When we read of Peter and John going to the temple, meeting a lame man from birth on a mat outside, begging for alms, Peter reached out his hand to the man, saying, “In the name of Jesus of Anointed of this of Nazareth, rise up and walk" … that was not Peter having some special gift that healed men born lame.


Peter was the ladle with purification waters transformed into the fine wine of healing - a gift of Yahweh, through Jesus; and, it was of Jesus … of Peter having been of Christ … of this servitude that began of Nazareth.


The lame man rejoiced in the same way as did the chief steward.


In both cases the Spirit of salvation was passed on by Jesus to another, via a servant. Jesus has to be resurrected within a servant, for the gifts of Yahweh to be dispensed to seekers.


Who were the servants that filled the jugs and handed a ladle to the seeker?


Nobody knows … because (as Paul told the Corinthians) being of Jesus is the only name that matters.


It is not a trick. It is the miracle of receiving the Spirit of Yahweh. It is the greatest gift a soul will ever know.


Now, relative to the wine … the chief steward was talking about the wine with the highest alcohol content being served first, because that gets the guests drunk fast. Once drunk, the cheap wine can come out; and, nobody cares by that point.


The reason they serve a sip of wine at the rails of Episcopal churches is the symbolism of wine being the Spirit of Yahweh.


I have heard Episcopalians speak about the Eucharist as if a tiny sip of wine makes them feel like they are drunk with Jesus. That is a parlor trick, like a hypnotist suggesting a sip of holy wine will make you feel like Jesus reborn. It is not. It is just sweet wine with alcohol … the stuff that comes out first.


Wine is a physical manifestation, produced by human hands. Because wine becomes alcoholic with age, it can be intoxicating. The effects of physical wine wear off. Because wine is physical and the Spirit of Yahweh is totally spiritual, the presence of the spiritual coming from Jesus lasts an eternity.


There is no such thing as 'holy wine.' There is only Holy Spirit; and, that is Spirit that transforms a sinner soul in a filthy body of flesh into a Saint … Sacred and Holy.


The 'host' is supposedly Jesus called down by a priest, so he enters wine carafes and trays of industrial wafers. Episcopal churches keep the leftover 'holy' wafers and wine in a special box, where they supposedly keep Jesus, after he joined with the physical, called by a priest. That is a suggestive trick that becomes hypnotic to many Episcopalians.


The problem with a trick is when the hypnotist snaps his fingers and one realizes it is football Sunday and the game is on. All thoughts about Jesus being in one's belly, after a wafer and a sip of wine, are instantly gone away.


Don’t try to sneak in a glass of tap water in front of someone during the game, because a football addict knows the difference between good beer and tasteless water.


The wine of Jesus comes when a soul has been married to Yahweh, giving rebirth to his soul within one’s soul – Mary the mother of Jesus. When Jesus is within, then one’s soul-flesh has already bathed in the ritual cleansing waters of holy baptism AND the presence of Jesus’ soul in one’s body of flesh makes your physical blood become the blood of Christ, the blood of Jesus.


No matter how drunk one has been in life, when the addictive things that once kept a body of flesh high do run out, that's when panic sets in.


Prayers pour out in a flood … “Please save me Jesus!”


When Yahweh marries one’s soul and sends His Son into your soul and body, that is when one realizes, there is no better high than a cup of eighty percent Yahweh, with twenty percent Jesus by volume.


The Spirit that makes one Sacred is the best saved for last.


The "last" means no more is ever needed. Eternal salvation has begun; and, it lasts forever.


I see the bus down at the corner, about to arrive. So, I’ll end here. Think about what I have said. Do some homework!


Until next Sunday, do take care of your soul.


Amen

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