2 Sunday of the Year C
Is 62:1-5; 1Cr 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11
Introduction: This is a homily/Scripture reflection in a book, titled: ‘Every Week God Speaks We Respond’, Cycle C, intended to be published in the future by Reverend John Tran Binh Trong.
It was published in Vietnamese in the US 2008 and republished in Viet Nam 2011. To keep the author’s writing style, this homily has not been edited and may not be by a hired hand. However, if readers would like to point out mistake(s) in spelling and grammar and/or to suggest English phrases and expressions, it would be greatly appreciated by the author, whose English is not his mother tongue and who did not live in the US until his adulthood. Passive sentences are used intentionally in this context as to avoid using the first personal pronoun ‘I’ when applicable. That might be associated with any idea of egotism, in accord with the French saying, known as: ‘Le moi est haissable’ (The ego is detestable).
Wedding is a very special occasion with family members, relatives and friends present to rejoice with the bride and groom. Today’s Gospel tells us about a wedding at Cana which ran out of wine. To run short of wine at an ancient Jewish wedding would be embarrassing to the bride and the groom.
In scripture, the image of a marriage is chosen to signify the relationship between God and his people. The chosen people are considered as a bride. This is an example of the marriage image in the reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah saying As a groom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you (Is 62:5). In the New Testament, Jesus considers himself as the groom (Mt 9:15-16; Mk 2:19-20; Lk 6:34-35). Saint Paul today considers Christ as the head of the Church and the Church submits to Christ as wives submit to their husbands (Eph 5:23-24). Saint John considers the Church, a New Jerusalem, as a bride prepared to meet her husband (Rev 21:2, 9).
Today’s Gospel tells us Jesus blessed the Cana wedding by turning water into wine for the wedding guests to enjoy. Although Jesus worked the miracle out of his power, he did it with the cooperation of his mother, the headwaiter and the servants. In the wedding, Mary showed that she was observable. We can say she was kind and considerate. When the wedding party ran out of wine, Mary turned to Jesus to intervene. She only told Him of what happened: They have no wine (Jn 2:3). That is all she said, nothing else, because she knew what her Son would do. That is why she just gave the servants a simple instruction: Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5). What did Jesus tell them? Although his hour has not yet come (Jn 2:4; 7:30; 8:20), meaning the hour that brings about salvation on the cross (Jn 12:27), the hour of his glorification (Jn 12:23), Jesus also did something symbolically for the wine turned into the blood of the new Covenant (Lk 22:20; 1Cor 11:25).
Jesus told them to fill the six stone water jars. Each jar could hold 20 or 30 gallons of water. If we take an average of 25 gallons for each jar, then when Jesus turned the water into wine, the wedding party would have 150 gallons of wine to drink. To consume this amount of wine, it would need 1200 wedding guests who could drink, to drink. If it were a small wedding, there would be plenty of wine left over. Therefore, we can see Jesus did not forbid people to enjoy drinking on special occasions so that they could have a good time, if they did not abuse. The miracle at the Cana wedding was the first miracle to attract people to pay attention to Jesus’ teaching and his work.
He chose to perform this miracle at a wedding feast in order to show us the importance of marriage institution. Saint John is the only evangelist to record this miracle. According to Saint John, the miracle of wine from water has a theological implication, predicting the Eucharist. As Jesus used his power to turn water into wine, he would use his power to turn bread and wine into his body and blood when he instituted the Eucharist. The implication is in there. In order to see something as a miracle, we need the eyes of faith. In order to realize the meaning of each miracle, we must open our eyes and ears of faith. When the couple faced the first difficulty in their married life, they had Mary to intervene, and Jesus to work a miracle to save them, because they had invited them to their wedding.
Like the bride and groom who ran out of wine at their wedding, we may have run short of something essential for our lives. Perhaps our love has dried up, or our faith has dimmed,
or our hope has been extinguished or we have lost our ideals for living. When we run short of those essential things in our lives, should we turn to Jesus for fresh supplies of what we need? Do we invite God into our lives: individual lives, married lives, and family lives?
Do we invite God to our vacation also? A number of people know how to invite God into
their individual lives, but not to their married lives. So what does it mean to invite God into our married lives? That means the ways a husband and a wife talk or deal with each other are to be done in the Christian way. That means the husband and wife learn to treat one another according to the example of the Holy Family. That means the husband and wife pray for each other. In addition, sometimes they should pray for each other aloud so that the other can hear. When we pray in silence, nobody knows what we pray and for whom we pray. When the husband and wife pray for each other aloud, one spouse could hear what the other spouse prays for him or for her. When one spouse hears what the other spouse prays for him or her, he or she would be touched. When he/she is touched by his/her prayers, he/she would feel close to each other emotionally. When the husband and wife invite God to their married life, then even a conjugal act would be done with love and respect for each other.
In order to have God in our lives, we need to invite Him. God is powerful. However, he does not want to force his way into our lives. He needs our invitation: personal invitation like praying. Come, Lord Jesus, I invite you to come into my life and stay with me. We may not consider the importance of inviting the Lord into our lives because we think the Lord already our problems and our needs. However, the door can only be open from our side. If we choose not to open, God does not want to force his way in because he gave us free will and he respects our freedom. At the Cana wedding, Jesus changed water into wine; he also wants to change our lives. In order for God to change our lives, we need to allow him to control our lives and we need to cooperate with his grace so that his power can pull us through.
Prayer asking God to come to our life:
Oh God of love.
You were invited to the Cana wedding party.
Today I ask you to come into our lives,
my married life and my family life
so that you can travel with us and lead us.
Especially I ask you to bless those married couples.
Heal their wounds
so that their married life may be enriched. Amen.
John Tran Binh Trong