2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 16 January 2022 ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Isaiah 62: 1-5; Responsorial: Psalm 96; II: I Corinthians 12: 4-11; Gospel: John 2: 1-11
The miracle at the wedding at Cana of Galilee is the first recorded miracle at the hands and words of Jesus. This exciting intervention by God to affect and change natural events is often used as a lesson establishing the sacrament of marriage as Jesus blesses the event and thus establishes it as a sacred act. But this miracle, only recorded in the gospel of John, is about far more than a wedding or the vocation of marriage. This miracle culminates the holy glories of the celebration of the Epiphany.
Epiphany, began with the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. This was followed by the Lord’s Baptism. The first two events focus upon the revelation of God in, through, and with the Son of God, Jesus. This miracle at the wedding is a manifestation of God’s grace and power through Jesus Himself as His earthly ministry begins. And it is distinct as it embraces more than the Holy Family or Jesus alone. It reveals, through Jesus the Christ, the embrace of humanity into God’s mercy and glory. This miracle in Cana of Galilee reveals the intent and power of God that calls us to be an Epiphany people.
The holy beauty and joy of marriage as a sacred act is truly evident in this event. It is seen that the desires of God to bless this young couple, and hence other marriages are displayed in the union of a man and a woman in the sacrament in holy matrimony. This vocation is very much an holy estate. Sacramental marriage as shared by the Church is about a distinct relationship and the graces associated with that vocation. But this miracle is about far more than marriage. It is about all who would seek God and the shared vocation to be an Epiphany people in our hearts and in our relationships.
Our Gospel account of this miracle concludes with the words: “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” This experience occurred at a wedding. But it involved far more people than a bride and groom. This brings us to wonder, Who are the people of this epiphany? The story tells us that at this wedding party, with the celebration well underway they were running out of wine. What would be an humiliation for the groom and bride is about to quench all joy. It is in this setting we first meet the Epiphany people.
Mary the mother of Jesus has become aware of the problem. As a good Jewish woman she cannot allow this travesty of hospitality to occur and as a good Jewish mother she takes charge. She tells Jesus of the problem with an unquestioned expectation that he will do something. We then are shown a glimpse of the humanity of Jesus. He tells her: “My time has not yet come.” Jesus knows that with this public manifestation of his power the course of his life is revealed and set. Mary simply tells the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.” With this simple, holy dialogue we are brought into the realm of an Epiphany people.
The actual miracle at Cana, while at a wedding does not directly involve the married couple. They might well have been unaware of the celestial drama that was unfolding in their midst. This first miracle of Christ does not involve the well-placed or mighty. It involves the servants. As our first reading proclaims the Presence and glory of God will be revealed to the poor, the outcasts, those on the fringes. It is an important lesson for us that to be a people of God’s glory revealed we need to be a people of humility. The Magi, seeking a newborn King found him in an humble house in a little Judean village. The revelation at Christ’s baptism came, not in some holy pristine fountain or spring but in the humble waters of the Jordan river. And the lesson continues. This miracle is shared with humble servants who would not have dared to assume to experience such a manifestation of God’s grace.
Perhaps we should listen to God’s Holy Spirit and realize we have neither the faculties nor the power to decide how or where God will bless and manifest the graces of mercy He alone can bring to a soul or to relationships. It is important to note no mention is made in this miracle of the bridal couple asking, or praying to God for help. They, often like us, were probably unaware of the needs they faced. But God, in His kindness allowed the saintly Mother of Jesus to be aware of their dilemma. May we learn to thank God, His angels, and saints for their unseen or unheard help for us in our lives. May we also grow in that same role of praying for the needs that others may not realize or that simply cannot bear alone. It is a very real grace of an Epiphany soul to seek God’s blessing for the needs of others.
To grow in our relationship in God’s Kingdom as a people sharing His witness of the power and holy glory, to be an Epiphany people we must allow ourselves the humble, holy gift of growing in our relationship with God. We must, like Mary and Jesus, dialogue, talk, we must pray, and listen to God. It is not a luxury but a necessity that we be a people who know and listen to His Word. We must, as Mary instructed, ” Do whatever He tells you.”
But there is another part of this miracle we must experience. The water and the wine of this very first miracle of the earthly ministry of Jesus foretell of the water and wine that will be shared at the end of our Lord’s earthly ministry. During the Mass at the preparation of the cup, there is a private prayer said by the priest (or deacon). The words are said: “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” In this holy and joyful miracle, we are given the hope and promise of the Body and Blood which will be given for all who believe. In the Eucharistic prayer, we see the Holy Spirit change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at the words of Jesus. In this first miracle, we see the Words of Jesus change the water to wine for the feast to be celebrated. And in both holy events, it is in the humble place of faithful obedience we witness the very best of God provided.
May we be and better become an epiphany people as we anticipate and participate in God’s grace and glory!