(John tells us that Jesus and his disciples were invited to this wedding at Cana, as was Jesus’ mother, Mary.) There is no parallel report of this miracle at Cana in the other three Gospels. Don’t you think it is significant that John included the story – about Jesus and his disciples at a wedding – at a PARTY – as the very first miracle Jesus performs? Of all that Jesus said and did in his three years of ministry, this is first – Jesus at a party, turning water into wine. (and not communion size wine but party size wine)
John must have kept his eye on Mary whenever he was in her company. Even after Jesus’ death, at Jesus, behest he took Mary into his home and heart until her own death. Though in relating this story he does not call her by name, he must have been deeply touched by her gentleness and gutsiness; keen intuition and comfortableness in staying in the background. Only Mary, Jesus and the wine steward (and, of course, our writer John) apparently noticed the exchange between Jesus and his mother – and the miraculous result. There is no mention about whether the other wedding guests are aware of what happened. This lavish response to a simple human need is a vision for us of the abundance of God’s workings in our lives. Jesus got involved in a BIG WAY – those six jars of wine would fill 6 to 9 HUNDRED bottles. That’s a lot of wine, even for a wedding party that would, in Jesus’ time, last a week.
Jesus quiet generosity challenges us to respond generously when confronted with human need today – simply, quietly without looking for credit or announcing the “miracle.” We respond as best we can, fully confident that God can transform our “water of humility into wine of unselfish generosity” bringing the Kingdom of God to fulfillment among us.
Do you know people who ‘feel bad about feeling good’? (Or are you one of them?) Do you feel that Jesus should have just attended the wedding ceremony (the ‘religious part’) and kept away from the festivities? Do you have a problem with Mary enjoying a glass of wine or two? There are some people, maybe more than we know, who seem to feel that, in order to be a ‘good’ person they always have to be denying themselves, always ‘making sacrifices’ or putting themselves down and minimizing their God-given talents. If they think they are really enjoying life, there must be something wrong. They are in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
To echo Pope Francis’ thinking: “Our religion is a religion of joy.” But people miss his point when they spend their time living Lent but without Easter. Pope Francis says in his introduction to THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL,” Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures!” He continues: “I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress.”
And, we really do have much to celebrate, to be joyful and be thankful for in so far as so many people have used their gifts to promote our well-being and support our community.
I quote here Max Lucado from When God Whispers Your Name:”
Why would Jesus, on his first journey, take his followers to a party? Didn’t they have work to do? Didn’t he have principles to teach? Wasn’t his time limited? How could a wedding fit with his purpose on earth? Why did Jesus go to the wedding?
The answer? It’s found in the second verse of John 2. “Jesus and his followers were also invited to the wedding.”
Why did they invite him? I suppose they liked him. Big deal? I think so. I think it’s significant that common folk in a little town enjoyed being with Jesus. I think it’s noteworthy that the Almighty didn’t act high and mighty. The Holy One wasn’t holier-than-thou. You just don’t get the impression that his neighbors grew sick of his haughtiness and asked, “Well, who do you think made you God?” His faith made him likable, not detestable. Would that ours would do the same!
Lucado asks: May I state an opinion that may raise an eyebrow? May I tell you why I think Jesus went to the wedding? I think he went to the wedding to-now hold on, hear me out, let me say it before you heat the tar and pluck the feathers-I think Jesus went to the wedding to have fun.”
So here’s a question for us: Jesus took time for a party. So, shouldn’t we?
How are you going to party? And who is God using – like Mary speaking to Jesus – to give us a nudge in the right direction? If you don’t know – as Benedict says: listen more carefully. And, if you do know – take the hint!
Reflection by Sister Robert Bailey, OSB, Prioress