Second Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle C
1st Reading: Isaiah 62: 1-5
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm: 96: 1-2, 2-3, 7-8, 9-10
2nd Reading: 1st Corinthians 12: 4-11
Gospel: John: 2: 1-11
If we look back on the readings of the last few weeks, we quickly realize that the gospel stories we’ve been considering are all about the manifestation of Jesus. We are learning who Jesus is through the stories of the gospel writers. In the Annunciation, Jesus is manifested to Mary. In the story of Jesus in the temple, Jesus is manifested to the Jews. In the Epiphany, Jesus is manifested to the Gentiles. And, in today’s reading, Jesus is manifested to those closest to Him, his family and friends.
The Wedding at Cana is a well-known and well-loved biblical story. It’s one of those stories that plays a video in your head as you are hearing the words. It’s probably a safe assumption that we’ve all been to a family wedding so we can easily relate to this scene. Since marriages (at this time) were arranged by parents and family members (most likely to a first cousin) it is safe to presume that most of the guests at the wedding were related. Everyone is there, minding their own business, when Mary realized they are out of wine. This would have been quite shameful for the family and she intercedes to resolve the problem (another indication it was probably a family gathering as she would have had the authority and responsibility to fix the issue). For the ancient Jews, wine was a symbol of joy. No more wine, no more joy. Mary points out the problem to Jesus and He seems to rebuke her. Biblical scholars give various reasons for Jesus’ response; a) He was bothered by the request. b) He was declaring his grown-man independence from his mother or c) He just didn’t think it was any of their business. Mary does not seem put off by her son’s reply, she simply trusts that he will do the right thing (whatever that may be). We also don’t know what changed Jesus’ mind so that He gives in and fixes the problem. Did He cave to the maternal pressure? Or did He decide to restore the family honor? We don’t know, but we can all relate.
The jars that John references carry significant meaning. John is careful to note that the containers are stone jars, that is vases not made in the usual way of ceramics. These jars were not made out of clay, worked and baked. These jars were sculpted out of blocks of stone. They were expensive, the very best and were always pure because they were non-porous. John also indicates that the jars were usually filled with water and were used for Jewish ritual washing. They were large, holding between 120-180 gallons combined. That’s a typical amount of water for washing before and after dinner, but an extravagant amount of wine for a wedding feast.
In this story, we see both the divinity and the humanity of Jesus Christ. We learn that whatever Jesus touches is transformed; broken to whole, scarcity to abundance, water to wine, sinners to saints, the ordinary to the extraordinary. John writes that “his disciples began to believe” but that was just the beginning of their transformation.
If we stop and think about it, the purpose of the gospels is to manifest Jesus Christ. We are constantly learning that He is more than just the carpenter’s son. We get to choose our response. We can live our lives like the headwaiter, presuming that the bridegroom saved the best wine for the last, or we can live our lives like the disciples and begin to believe. Albert Einstein wrote “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
We recognize the power of signs on many levels in this Cana experience and realize that it points toward the greater signs of Jesus’ life and ministry.
#1 What are some of the signs that speak to you most powerfully in your everyday journey?
#2 How do you live the words of Jesus’ mother, “Do what he tells you?”