Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
The liturgical year is a pilgrimage. It’s a pilgrimage of God’s revelation. Advent was a time of preparation for that journey. We have prayed for God’s revelation and prepared to receive his revelations. One by one we unveil and encounter them beginning with: the Annunciation of the Birth of the Savior; the annunciation of the birth of his forerunner, John the Baptizer; the birth of John; the birth of Christ; the revelation of his mission by Simon; the visit of the Magi; the baptism of Jesus Christ; the proclamation and commissioning of Jesus by God the father; and the descending of the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove.
This week we are at a wedding in Cana where Jesus reveals his Divine power by his first miracle; transforming water into wine. We all are invited to participate personally in these revelations. It is an amazing feeling to have Mary with us in our Journey of faith and revelation. In verse 3, of today’s gospel we read that, in the course of the celebration, “the wine ran short.” This was a difficult situation for the young couple, and may indicate that they came from poor families. Among the Jews of that time, wine was not only considered a staple food item, but was also frequently used in times of celebration. To run short of wine at a wedding feast was certainly a serious problem, particularly damaging to the reputation of the host and an ill omen for the newly-married couple. When Mary pointed out the problem to Jesus, his reply seems, on the surface, to be a bit sharp. This, however, is to misunderstand the passage. Although Jesus addressed his mother as “Woman” or “Dear Woman,” the term was roughly equivalent to our word “lady” or “madam”, and was not, in itself, unnecessarily harsh. It was, in fact, a term of respect and is the same word Jesus used when he addressed his mother from the cross, saying of John, “Woman, behold your Son.” Jesus’ next words are also easily misunderstood. He asked Mary, “What is it to me and to you?” This implies no rudeness on Jesus’ part. Probably, it means, “We are guests, and guests are not expected to supply the things needed at a feast.” Jesus further protested, “My hour has not yet come,” The “hour” of Jesus includes his passion, death, Resurrection and exaltation taken as one great event. In spite of Jesus’ detachment from the problem, Mary instructed the waiters, “Do whatever He tells you,” showing Faith that her son would do what the newlyweds and their families really needed. The Church uses the account of this miracle to remind us that, by virtue of her position as the Mother of God and our Heavenly Mother, Mary’s intercession for us with God has great power.
In a scene of the stage play and movie, Fiddler on the Roof, the hero Tevye on one occasion keeps nagging his wife Golda, asking her whether she loves him or not. He keeps pestering her to say she does…. But she is in no romantic mood and brushes him off, until finally she turns to him and says, “Look at this man…. Look at you…. I am your wife, I cook your meals, wash your clothes, milk the cows, raise half a dozen daughters for you, my bed is yours, everything I have and am, I share with you – and after all that, you want to know whether I love you? Oh, well… I guess I do….” Most grown-up people, religious included, don’t go telling people they love them…. even if Jesus tells us we have to love one another. But they do express this love by what they do for those people around them every day. Let’s invite Jesus and Mary into the ordinary events of daily life; they can make them new!
Let us, invite Jesus and Mary to remain with us in our homes when we feel shortages in our family lives. The spouses need Jesus and Mary when their dreams are gone, mutual love seems dried up, the relationship becomes boring, and raising the children becomes a burden draining all their energy. The awareness of the presence of Jesus and Mary in the family will encourage parents to create an atmosphere of prayer, Bible-reading, mutual love and respect with a spirit of forgiveness and sacrificial service at home. It will refresh and renovate the family life, removing its boredom.
Let us follow Mary’s instruction, “Do whatever He tells you.” This is the only command given by Mary which is recorded in the New Testament, and it is a prerequisite for miracles in our families. Just as Jesus filled the empty water jars with wine, let us fill the empty hearts around us with love. By the miracle of Cana, Jesus challenges us also to enrich the empty lives of those around us with the new wine of love, mercy, concern and care. Let us learn to appreciate the miracles of God’s providence in our lives. God, often as an uninvited guest in our families, works daily miracles in our lives by protecting us from physical and moral dangers, providing for our needs, inspiring us and strengthening us with His Holy Spirit.
God Bless You,