This Sunday’s Gospel comes from the beginning of the second chapter of John (John 2:1-11). It’s the familiar story of Jesus’ first public miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana.
Leading up to that event, it’s interesting to consider everything that happened in the first chapter of John: We hear the famous “In the beginning was the Word..” testimony, then the introduction of John the Baptist – the forerunner, then “The Word became flesh”. John came to give testimony, then “the next day”, Jesus called Andrew and Simon Peter to follow him. Then “the next day”, Jesus found and called Philip and Nathanael.
Then, in today’s Gospel, “On the third day…” falls our wedding.
Right out of the gate, we’ve come through the Christmas season in which we recall and celebrate “The Word made flesh” in the person of Jesus Christ, we see his public manifestation at his Baptism as the Christmas season ends, and we’re propelled right through the calling of the first Apostles and into the middle of Jesus’ first miracle.
Jesus doesn’t waste any time, and yet it’s notable that this “first wedding” falls on the third day – preparing us for the wedding feast of the Lamb coming later, on our next “third day” at Easter.
I’ve always loved the way this story unfolds… the wedding party has been continuing, and the guests have drunk fully of their host’s generosity.
When the wine runs dry, Mary takes the concern to her son first. At first, he seems to pushes her away. But she just turns to the servers, saying, “Do whatever he tells you.”
So much to learn from Mary – first, that she’ll always turn to our Lord on our behalf. Second, she trusts that if we listen and follow his way, he will provide. Third, he responds to her prompting.
And then the miracle. The servers cooperate with Jesus and fill the stone water jars as instructed, and without any hesitation, Jesus has them draw from them and take it to the headwaiter, who observes that it’s not water, but the finest wine to date!
I’d imagine that at that point, those first disciples were sold! In fact, the Gospel concludes noting how “the disciples began to believe in him.”
What might that water represent for us in our lives today? What might the wine it becomes represent?
In the second reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), we hear about the many talents in the body of Christ…
Brothers and sisters:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
And the verse in the Alleluia before the Gospel reminds us:
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ
We’re called to let the grace of God work through us and our God-given talents, and how we live the Gospel, to help lead by example, and to DO things that create positive change in the world around us.
What is the “water” in the world around me today? What could use the grace of God sweetening it into fine wine?
The more we tune into that grace and focus it into the way we live our daily lives, the more we’ll become “other Christs” – Bread Alive in the world today for others. We’ll see more of the water of daily life around us becoming the fine wine of grace-touched hearts and lives.
In one of the hymns at morning prayer in the breviary this week, this verse caught my ear:
The faith that first must be possessed,
Root deep within our inmost breast;
And joyous hope in second place,
Then charity, thy greatest grace.
In Christs’s coming, the three heavenly graces have been revealed and imparted to us: The faith of Baptism, the hope inherent in his call, and the charity his grace bids us impart to the world around us. Between last week’s Gospel and this week’s, we’re ready to encounter the world, bringing our Christian character to this Ordinary time.
We’ll not only live, but we may even lead others to sing with us the Psalm… “Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations!”
Like the first disciples who followed you from those first few days, into the wedding at Cana, and then on your journey, we’re ready, Lord. Thank you for your call. Thank you for your grace. Help us to do your work today.