“They have no wine” as you can imagine, this is something you dread to hear, or maybe fear the most. Not just at a wedding venue, but more importantly when you arrive into a parish presbytery for a few weeks placement over the New Year. Luckily for me, the parish here in Kendal is well stocked up.
At the wedding in Cana, it is the bridegroom’s responsibility to provide the wine, and since the celebrations could last a few days, we hear that the wine was gone. This would cause great embarrassment for the host especially if they were only halfway through the wedding celebrations, and the wine was completely finished. Therefore, Mary requests Jesus to help their friends in their time of need.
This miracle was the beginning of Jesus’ signs. In John’s Gospel the evangelist refers to Jesus’ miracles as signs because these are great works of divine power, revealing His Glory. A sign that points to Jesus’ exaltation and glorification during His ‘hour’, lifted high for all nations on a cross.
We hear Jesus saying in the Gospel ‘My hour has not yet come’, which is the time when He fully reveals Himself as the ‘Son of God’ and shows the Father’s love, by accomplishing His saving mission on the cross.
Mary tells the servers ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There is a link here that echo’s the words of the Israelites in the book of Exodus when they respond to God’s offer of a covenant, ‘Everything the Lord has said, we will do”. Mary instructs the servers to listen to Her Son, like the Israelites that listened to the Lord at Mount Sinai. Mary is also interceding between Her Son and the members of the household, presenting their needs to Jesus, and encourages them through discipleship to obey and to trust in Him.
There were six stone water jars, totalling up to 180 gallons. This is such a huge quantity, more than anyone could expect for a wedding banquet. Here are some quick calculations. Today five bottles of wine equal one gallon. Therefore, 180 gallons is the same as 900 bottles of wine. That is definitely more than currently held in the presbytery. This sign shows the superabundance of Jesus’ love and generosity to His friends at the wedding banquet. He let His Glory be seen.
Jesus now takes up the role of the bridegroom, on whose responsibility it was to provide the wine. In Isaiah we read ‘as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.” God wants to share his life utterly with us, as a bridegroom loves and cherishes his bride.
We also read in the scriptures, when the Messiah comes there will be a banquet of great celebrating with a superabundance of wine. “On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and fine wines.” Elsewhere we read “On that day the hills will drip with new wine.” Jesus, the Son of God made Flesh, is presenting Himself as the bridegroom for his people, which points towards God’s saving act of salvation.
At Mass here today, Jesus is transforming wine into His own Body and Blood, which He will pour out upon His people who are gathered here at the Lord’s table. Jesus is our host for the banquet meal, and He serves His Body and Blood, acting as the bridegroom who comes to marry His people – the Church.
This Sunday is Peace Sunday, and we have been asked by Pope Francis to reflect upon the theme ‘Education, work and dialogue between generations’. The Wedding at Cana falls nicely into this theme. A celebration where young and old come together, where love and hope are re-awakened, by watching the joyous newly wedded couple, publicly pledging their love for each other.
At times our love runs dry, like hearing the words ‘we have no wine’. But we rely on Jesus to renew our love, our peace and our joy in our daily lives. As the stewards placed their trust in Jesus in Cana, let us also place our trust, hope and love solely in the Lord Jesus. It is at the Lord’s banquet table where He shares superabundantly His peace overflowing with fine wines. With Mary as our Mother interceding for us, and Jesus our bridegroom, let us place our trust in Him.