These first weeks after Christmas are a season of epiphanies. The first epiphany took place at the incarnation, where Jesus is revealed as the newborn king of the Jews who makes us co-heirs of Israel’s promise that we are beloved children of God. Last week in liturgy was the Baptism of Jesus that reveals that he truly is Gods one and only son and today we are at a wedding.
Today’s weddings are one day events filled with grandiose plans, high expenses, and of course the main attraction the dress. “Say Yes to the Dress! And of course a Wedding Planner. An ancient wedding during Jesus’ time would be festivities that lasted five to seven days. The bride’s father was in charge and it was not an easy task. There was typically a large crowd of working class people ready to take some time off to celebrate and enjoy themselves.
Jesus, the Disciples and Mary were invited as guests to this wedding at Cana and our Blessed Mother noticed something terribly wrong. Mary was not the wedding planner but still kept her attention on the needs of others. She recognized and impending disaster and took the initiative to do something about it. This awareness and creative service modeled by the Virgin Mary is a key to being a true follower of Christ.
Mary noticed the problem and wanted to do something about it. She didn’t have the resources to solve the problem by herself and so she goes to Jesus, and simply says to him, “They have no wine”. She doesn’t portray anxiousness or stress. She does not try to micro manage Jesus with a to do list or a command. But, she knows that her son is the Messiah, the Son of God. She approaches him with total confidence knowing that his infinite love and unlimited omnipotence will be the combination to solve the problem.
Mary shows us how to approach Jesus. He is our savior and he comes for our sake. In our times of confusion, trouble and suffering we can make Mary’s prayer our own: They-we-I –have not wine. A confidence in Jesus is a key to spiritual maturity in Christ.
Next Mary puts her confidence in Jesus into practice. She turns to the waiters and gives the best piece of advice that any human being has ever given anyone. “Do whatever he tells you.”
The waiters in turn, follow her directions. Mary’s confidence in Jesus gives them the faith they need to obey and they become part of the miracle that saves the day. Obedience to God’s will is a key to a Christian life.
Our Blessed Mother always points us to Jesus. Her last spoken words in the Bible help to initiate his ministry. Mary knew that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus knew his mission. That is why his response is: “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” By addressing Mary as Women is not a exchange of rudeness or ridicule. He is acknowledging her as the Mother of God and saying that his time to be glorified has not yet happened. Her response of “Do Whatever He Tells You.” Is not a message of disgust but one of trust.
Jesus as the loving God responds by transforming the water into the most excellent wine. It is a gift to us through the Holy Spirit of his saving grace. The headwaiter responds to the actual bridegroom that usually the excellent wine is served first. But, he does not know that this wine was made from the Divine Bridegroom. Jesus is the Bridegroom who is married to his bride who is us, the body of Christ, his church. As displayed in the first reading this marriage is a covenant relationship with his chosen people. He is the groom of humanity, his beloved and sought after bride.
This first sign is the introduction of the New Covenant where he will become “one flesh” with all of humanity in the Church. By our Baptism, each of us has been betrothed to Christ as a bride to a Husband. The Excellent wine is the saving grace of our salvation. It comes to us if we truly hold Christ in the center of our lives.
But, do we place Christ in the center of our lives? That is truly a choice of free will. This past week many people put their Powerball ticket at the center . In some of today’s marriages, instead of a covenant between a man and a woman before God, a pre-nuptial agreement is at the center. Many of us put our job, our money, our possessions at the center of our hearts. And we pray for those who place their mood modifiers whether it be food, alcohol, drugs, or pornography through addiction at the center of their hearts. These things have only a short lived finite joy.
A person who chooses Christ at the center of their life has a radiant joy. Just like the water transformed into an excellent wine, he or she is transformed as well. People of Christ are often asked the question, why are you so happy? I hope if you are asked that question, the response will be Jesus Christ. I pray the second response will be “I do whatever he tells me.” This is evangelization. The realization of his grace leads us to discovering our God given gifts as displayed by St. Paul in the second reading. Christ at the center of our life brings a life of clarity and a true path toward his light.
As we continue on with Mass and throughout the week let us remember to follow Christ with an attitude of creative service by sharing a confidence in Jesus and by being obedient to God’s will. Let us ask our blessed Mother to intercede on our behalf, just as she did for the newlyweds at Cana that God’s grace will flow freely in us and through us.