In John 2:1-11, we enter the wedding at Cana. We overhear the conversation about the amount of wine and its quality with Jesus and Mary. The wedding feast in this gospel is far greater than our earthly image of marriage. There is something deeper here.
Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection are called the Paschal Mystery. This is the center of our faith. This is what we celebrate at every Eucharist, every Sunday. An image of the Paschal Mystery is commonly referred to as the marriage of heaven and earth. Jesus’ resurrection is the new life and covenant of God and God’s people. This marriage of redemption, of forgiveness of sin, of life beyond the grave, is a marriage union with God and us on earth.
If we consider this gospel concerning the Paschal Mystery, then it opens our path to such a gift. Last week, Jesus was baptized, and that moment was the beginning of his earthly ministry. This is his first miracle, changing water into wine. If we see this water and wine in the perspective of the Paschal Mystery, then the wine becomes his real presence. He is the new covenant. He becomes the miracle. He becomes the love we desire, the bridegroom. The good wine that comes well into the celebration is Jesus himself. He is the love that enables us a new covenant with God and with God’s people in the Church.
The miracle of this good wine is Jesus himself, his suffering, and his new life. Before he died, he took the Cup, shared it with his disciples and invited them to do that action in memory of him, always until the end of the world. The Cup is also a metaphor of his shedding blood, the New Covenant. When we partake of his Precious Blood at Mass, we give over everything in our lives to serve him, to love him, to act in the world with dignity and hope. The Cup of Salvation is available to us in the Eucharist, the wedding of heaven and earth.
Mary is wringing her hands about the fact that the wine is running out at the wedding feast. Jesus says to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” This story in the second chapter of John already has deep theology about who Jesus is and what he can do for the world. Even his mother does not quite understand where he is going and what will happen to him.
The large amount of water that becomes wine is also an image of Jesus’ presence in our world. His grace is overflowing. His love is beyond imagining. His life outpoured for the sake of the world is what we should be paying attention to in the story of this gospel. In other words, there is enough of God’s mercy to go around. There is enough love, tenderness, and peace so that everyone will have their fill. The Holy Spirit will enable all people to sip from this Cup of Salvation. All will be well, not just in the story of the wedding feast, but for us all on earth and for all eternity.
After this miracle, the gospel says that Jesus’ glory is revealed. It also states that his disciples began to believe in him. Imagine that day, the hope for the disciples that they did not leave everything for nothing. There is much for them to learn and even more for us to consider in our lives of faith and service in Christ Jesus.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor