Well, here we are. The Christmas decorations are packed away. The festive foods are now a memory. The New Year’s resolutions have been made and already winter set in a long, long time ago it seems and we find ourselves in Ordinary Time. It can be difficult to get together much enthusiasm if you are one who doesn’t ski. In comparison, Jesus starts his public ministry at a wedding celebration. Weddings are a joyous celebrations which express our desire for a full and happy life.
The image of a wedding feast is used throughout the Old Testament to describe God’s relationship with his people, Israel. Though often unfaithful to the covenant they had made with God, he would take them back, forgive their sins and turn the people’s sadness into joy. In terms of the coming of the Messiah, Israel’s hopes were expressed in the celebration of a wedding. It would be a time of joy, and great rejoicing. In the time of the Messiah, God’s blessing would be poured out on his people in full measure; as we know now, Jesus is the awaited Messiah and he is our lord and savior.
This incident in the life and ministry of Jesus is like a prism with many facets that catch the light of revelation. Many believe that this event portrays Jesus and Mary are the new Adam and Eve, signifying a new creation. Others see in this miracle a reference to the Exodus where Moses’ first sign before the Pharaoh was turning the waters of the Nile River into blood. Some Biblical scholars feel that John is criticizing the Pharisees because Jesus’ interpretation of the Law has replaced the inferior wine of their traditions. Still others find in this account a foreshadowing of the heavenly feast in which all Christ’s disciples will someday celebrate.
For us, the miracle at Cana in Galilee, is a lesson of discipleship. As his disciples we can find a lesson in our own lives and as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
When we look to another detail in this occasion, they tell us that wedding celebrations lasted for a number of days and that Jesus turned 120 to a 130 gallons of water into wine. They had already been drinking wine and now they could say let the party begin in earnest, there were going to be a lot of hangovers when this celebration ended! This symbolized the inexhaustible riches which God pours out on his people even eternal life. Our second reading reinforces this idea in the gifts of the Holy Spirit which is poured out on each one of us and binds us together in the Body of Christ. Each member had special gifts that are for our personal holiness for the service of the other members. When we recognize the gifts that whatever he God has given to us and we place them at the disposal of the Lord, He can transform them into something beautiful for the glory of God and the good of our brothers and sisters. In the words of Mary to the servants, Do whatever he tells you and with his help you and I can do miraculous things!