The wine has run short. The land is desolate. The Christmas decorations have been packed away. There is a sense of tiredness after the buzz of the holidays. Another year has begun. But what do we do with these feelings of emptiness and tiredness? What do we fill ourselves up with?
Lately, I have been wondering if I have been doing any good, if I have been making any sort of positive contribution toward justice, toward the Kingdom of God. Instead of the excitement that should come with a new year, I feel a sense of desolation about having to push through another tough year of struggling for justice. I want to KonMari the world. I want to organize and keep what sparks joy and say “thank you, next” to what doesn’t.Liturgically, we have just started Ordinary Time. There are no major celebrations, nothing in particular to look forward to. True to its name, our time is ordinary. Yet we begin this season with Jesus’ first miracle: the wedding feast at Cana. We see Jesus take an ordinary occurrence (a party running out of wine), ask for something ordinary (to fill the jars with water), and turn it into an extraordinary miracle (the finest wine). We celebrate Ordinary Time to remind ourselves that through Jesus Christ, our time can be extraordinary.
I am reminded that this is a time to celebrate the extra-ordinary and to celebrate our diversity. In the second reading, we are reminded that we all have been given different gifts but of the same spirit, each according to our strengths. I am reminded that I am not alone in this struggle for justice. It is in our working together, you with your gifts and me with mine, that we move toward co-building the Kingdom of God. Our Ignatian family is such a beautiful community that when we come together, our water is turned into wine. And that is something that sparks joy and is a reason to celebrate.
Teresa Marie Cariño Petersen is an educator and activist particularly interested in racial justice and embodiment. She currently works as a campus ministry teacher at Sacred Heart Prep, Atherton where she teaches social ethics and coordinates the immersion program. She credits her faith that does justice formation to ISN and is an alum of St. Ignatius (San Francisco), the University of San Francisco, and (soon to be) Jesuit School of Theology. She also served as a Jesuit Volunteer in New York City 13’-14’ and worked at two Jesuit parishes. Teresa also serves on the board of the National Catholic Reporter.
Find her on Instagram @teresamariecarino