When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” 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. (John 2:3-7)As I continued to contemplate the words of the scriptures, I thought, we too, need to bring something to the Lord each day, something more important than an empty jar, our empty hearts. Listening to Mary’s words to the servants with trust and humility, we too must go to the only one who can fill us, Jesus. He will pour into us the “new wine” of His Spirit. Just like the once empty jars, we will be filled to the brim. In the dictionary “brim” means “the edge or rim of a vessel.” Are you full of the Holy Spirit, or are you empty? This week we found ourselves in Bethesda, Maryland at our grandson Carter's Confirmation. What a blessing it was to witness the eighth grade class receive this sacrament. They had readied themselves to receive their place in the church as Soldiers for Christ by preparing for two years. Along the journey together, they were instructed in the truths of the Faith, studied well and apply their faith by serving others. Now the big day was here. It took a step of faith for each candidate to go forward. Now was the time to give their “Yes” to Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As they walked towards the Bishop, their sponsors placed one hand upon their candidates’ shoulder, showing their support. Nervously each approached the Bishop. As he tenderly traced the sign of the cross with chrism upon their forehead, he spoke these words, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Those familiar words have been alive in my heart since my own Confirmation day. After all, isn’t that what Jesus said to His disciples in the upper room when He filled them with His Holy Spirit? I imagine the disciples never forgot that day. Hopefully these confirmandi will remember their Confirmation day as a day of grace forever. In a way, it was a little Pentecost. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is one of the mysteries of our faith. The infilling of His grace each time we receive one of the scraments gives us the desire to know God, love Him, and serve Him. We too are on a journey, like the one the disciples and the confirmandi took, with each step being a step of faith. There are no shortcuts in the Christian walk. We must journey on, in season and out of season. Everyone’s journey will have times that we are on the mountaintop overflowing with Christ’s love and other times when we are in the desert thirsting for God, and need a touch of His grace. I have learned many things in my walk with Jesus Christ, but the most important thing I have learned is that when I am empty He is the only one who can fill me. When I am empty I go to Jesus by frequenting the sacraments, daily prayer and daily surrender. When I stay close to Jesus, I am not empty anymore because I am filled with the love and grace of His Holy Spirit. It is difficult to serve the Lord on empty. Empty people, even Christians, sometimes try to fill their empty hearts with worldly things. Hopefully, they eventually learn that these things will never satisfy. No matter how much we love someone, we cannot fill their hearts. We can love them, serve them and support them, but God alone can truly satisfy. He alone can fill them with the new wine of His Holy Spirit. We must be ever ready to point empty people to Jesus. Like Mary we can encourage them with the words, “Do whatever He tells you.” Our faith assures us that He will fill their empty jars to the brim if they but go to Him. In word and deed, Mary always pointed to Jesus. Her words changed lives. They still do today. The lesson of Mary pointing the servants to her son Jesus is a lesson we should not forget. Our gentle Mother’s words were few, but when she spoke miracles happened. If we live our lives as Mary did with trust in Him alone, miracles will happen in our lives too. The greatest miracles happen in the heart. Jesus wants to fill our hearts, so that they are no longer empty. He wants our hearts to overflow with His love and His grace, so we can share His love with all we meet. Is your heart empty or full? To whom will you go? If you but go to Jesus and “Do whatever He tells you,” you will not be empty anymore.
Copyright 2018 Ellen Mongan
About the Author
Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.