“Do whatever he tells you’

This weekend we gather for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. When one hears that the church is in “ordinary time” it is understandable why we may think all that is required of us is to sit comfortably in our pew until Ash Wednesday comes around (a little more than four weeks from now).

However, if you listen carefully to the Scriptures for this week, you will discover that is not the case. We are being called to do something, to give ourselves in a significant way. Isaiah will remind us that we, who have come to know Jesus, must not be silent. We must announce Jesus among us, be it through our praise at liturgy or in our daily encounters with the people around us. In Corinthians, we will hear the familiar Scriptures that could be considered the manifesto for how we are to live out our baptismal call.

In the Gospel, we will hear about the miracle of Cana. Granted it would be delightful if the message of this Gospel was merely “Drink only good wine” but listen for this line; “Do whatever he tells you.” It is that line that sums up the message of the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. “Do whatever he tells you” and do it also in a spirit of mercy.

This time of the year, you may find that your parish could benefit greatly from any acts of ministry that you can share. In most of our parishes we have snowbirds, those members who leave to spend the winter in a warmer area. Very often these people have also been invested in the parish. The have served as lay ministers at liturgy or were taking Communion to the sick or had been volunteers in any number of parish activities. There is a void to be filled while they are gone. Listen to your heart, might you hear the Holy Spirit encouraging you to stop at the parish office and ask, “Do you have any areas that are in need of volunteers during this winter season?” Listen, and then do what he tells you.

Perhaps you have volunteered before and the experience was not what you had hoped for. This is not uncommon. People can volunteer for a ministry because they like it, or feel they are good at it, yet at parish level it is not well received. It is hard to realize that while one may be dazzling at karaoke that does not mean they have the musical gift to be a cantor. You may enjoy reading a good book, but, in the same token, that does not make you strong proclaimer of the Word. At one time, you may have been hurt when someone in parish leadership had to say to you, “You know, this really might not be the area that makes best use of your gifts.” Perhaps now is the time to look past that hurt and begin again in hope.

On your own, prayerfully read the second reading for this Sunday, perhaps even several times. Ask Jesus to reveal to you what ministry in the parish he is calling you to even if it seems quite different from one you would like to do. And then, do whatever he tells you.
Remember that as the church “counts” her way to the season of Lent, you need to make every day count as well. Let us attend to the Lord, do whatever he tells us and proclaim a hopeful mercy to all people.

Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.