Second Sunday of the Year

The wedding feast of Cana

Have you ever counted the number of weddings you have been to?  I am guessing I must have been to 40. I know some priests who have performed 30 weddings in one year! That’s a lot of turkey and ham!
What wedding –besides perhaps your own – stands out for you, and why?

All of us have been to weddings - after all the money and preparation, and things can still go wrong!

Today is the story of a wedding where everything could have gone terribly wrong for the wedding couple – running out of alcohol was not as tragic as here maybe! Weddings in Israel went on for days.  But a shortage of wine  available was considered also a lack of generosity, as well as lack of planning, and a lack of celebratory joy. It would be the talk of the place for ever more, besmirching the family name and honour of the couple and the miracle would spare them a lifetime of pointing gossipy fingers.

The famous story of Our Lord changing of water into wine is one of the most well known public miracles of Jesus – it was also Jesus’ first miraculous sign recorded. It needs little explanation or elaboration. It is the first time that Jesus’ mercy is appealed to – and by Mary - on behalf of perhaps her extended family. But what is memorable is that there was wine in abundance – 900 litre bottles worth! Enough for everyone in the congregation to take at least three bottles home each.

This miracle has never been duplicated – and nobody as far as I know has ever tried to explain it away – there is no natural explanation. How could you explain it?

Our Lady is observant and quickly and calmly comes to the rescue averting disaster. Very few people were actually in the know that there was a problem, and guests would have thought nothing unusual about the filling of the stone water jars for washing of arms and hands. I am not a wine connoisseur – but I have often been fascinated that some people taste  a sample of wine from the waiter.

It does symbolise a couple of things and one is God’s love in abundance for His people.  Also Christ describes Himself as the bridegroom – and we are is people, his Church, are the bride. Heaven is described in parables as compared to a wedding feast to which all are invited but for which all must be found worthy. The wine (and water added) remind us of Cana and at Mass becomes the Blood of Christ.

Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb!

So the wedding at Cana speaks and points to a much deeper truth – that we are invited to heaven, to the heavenly banquet or supper.
There are other elements in the imagery of Cana that are worth pondering:
The next time we see the cruets of water and wine, let us recall Cana, but also that the great wondrous miracle at Cana is surpassed by the sacrament of the wine becoming the blood of Christ.
The steward tastes only a sample of the wine meant for the guests - and it is the best wine. The Lord has left the best wine till last - the wine of joy in Heaven is awaiting us, and the joys we experience  here are only fleeting ones compared to the joy of heavenly glory.
We are called to be like the servants, dispensing, and not even always tasting the joy of it, in acts of loving service to to others.

‘The hour’ that finally came was the Passion, and John was one of those asked to ‘watch one hour with me’. John later with Mary heard those words ‘woman’ and witnessed too the flow of blood and water at the hour of Christ’s death on Calvary, prefigured by the water and wine at Cana. The marriage of the Lamb was now complete.
Juat as we may receive an invitation to a wedding accompanied by a set of directions on a map to the church or hotel with which we may not be familiar, we prepare ourselves in advance to be at the wedding in good time. How do we get to the wedding feast of heaven pre-figured too at Cana?  What directions are we to follow to get there?
Simply, by following what Mary tells us – her new extended family, and her servants, repeating her last recorded words in the Gospel at a wedding feast                               

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